Holistic development

Published : Mar 13, 2009 00:00 IST



UNDER the initiative of Dharmana Prasada Rao, the Revenue Minister, and the stewardship of Nagulapalle Srikanth, the District Collector, Srikakulam is making rapid strides on all fronts. Srikanth spoke to Frontline on the metamorphosis of Srikakulam. Excerpts:

What transformed the districts socio-economic profile?

The district administration, in tune with the State government, has been focussing on rural housing; literacy through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan; womens empowerment through self-help groups [SHGs]; skill development and vocational job training programmes for the youth under the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) and self-employment training programmes (SETSRI).

A feather in the cap of this district is the newly established Ambedkar University, not to speak of the Rajiv Institute of Medical Sciences.

What has ushered in the green revolution of rural Srikakulam?

The district has received high priority under Jalayagnam, the irrigation mission of the government. Irrigation projects including Thotapalli, Vamsadhara, Mahendratanaya offshore reservoir, and Madduvalasa are in different stages of execution. These projects are expected to irrigate 2 lakh acres. Already 50,000 acres of land has been brought under irrigation.

Free power supply to farmers and crop insurance have boosted the rural economy. Two thermal power plants are being planned in Santhabommali and Sompeta mandals. The projects, costing Rs.21,800 crore, will produce 5,820 MW of power. They are expected to trigger an industrial revolution in the district.

What are the achievements in the area of employment generation and capacity building for young people?

Boys and girls who have never stepped out of their villages and tribal hamlets are now going en masse for placements to metropolitan cities such as Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. So far, about 10,000 youth have been trained, and about 7,000 have got jobs. By the end of March 2009, the remaining would be given placements.

You have been saying that the SHG movement has created a parallel economy in villages. What do you mean?

The formation of 30,000 SHGs involving 4 lakh rural women has built earning capacities, resulting in the creation of a parallel economy in the villages.

The government has come to the rescue of 2.79 lakh old men and women by giving them each a pension of Rs.200 a month. A dole of Rs.500 is given every month to the disabled.

Some 1.2 lakh houses have been built under the Indiramma housing scheme, while 2 lakh houses are in various stages of completion. As part of the governments welfare scheme for white card holders, 25 kilograms of rice at Rs.2 a kg were given to every household.

Under the health insurance scheme, Arogyasri, which provides treatment in corporate hospitals to the 5 lakh-odd white card holders living below the poverty line, 11,000 people have been given free treatment.

The State government is sponsoring the higher education of 1.64 lakh S.C., S.T., and B.C. students.

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