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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 27:

With only weeks to go for Odisha panchayat polls to begin, state unit of Congress today released a manifesto that highlights several key issues concerning the state and lays special focus on the rural economy of the state.

Apart from rural economy, the party also focused on social security, empowerment of Panchayati Raj institutions, agriculture and development of SC/STs among others.

Releasing the document, PCC President Prasad Harichandan said, “We won’t be able to vouch for major changes in the existing framework since Congress has been out of power since past 16 years. However, we would like to tell the people of Odisha that unless the villages are developed and youth are financially secured, we can’t expect our country to grow.”

“There should be youth self help groups – in line with existing women self help groups (SHGs) — to economically uplift the rural youth. We will facilitate them with seed money, necessary funds and subsidised loans to address the concerns pertaining to rural economy. We are committed for the rights of the people,” he added.

He further lamented that even though the Panchayati Raj system — envisioned by former Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi – was meant to take the power back to the people through local institutions covered under it, the power continues to be concentrated with the governments.