Orissa Govt. attaches highest priority to implementation of all programs says CM

Orissa State Legal Services Authority and Panchayati Raj Department of the Government of Orissa have jointly organized a workshop on the importance of Legal Aid Services in Poverty Alleviation Programmes for sensitization of Chief functionaries at the district level, both from the judiciary as well as from the administration on the importance of Legal Aid Services in Poverty Alleviation Programmes on Saturday. The Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik joined the workshop as Chief Guest.

The Chief Minister Sri Patnaik said that Poverty is considered to be multi-dimensional– it is much more than the lack of income– it is lack of power, lack of opportunities and access to public services. Hence, a rights based approach to development is fundamental to combat poverty. It is, therefore, necessary that the two important but diverse elements, those working with the legal systems and human rights issues, and those responsible for executing development and welfare programmes collaborate when implementing rights based approaches to development.

Sri Patnaik said Our Government attaches the highest priority to effective implementation of all programmes having a rights based orientation. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is one such programme which provides legal guarantee to any rural household which is willing to do unskilled manual labour to 100 days of such employment to be provided by the Government. Last year the State could provide employment to almost 14 lakh families. Because of pro-active approaches of the District Administrations, the coverage and outreach is growing rapidly.

The implementation is being further strengthened by appointing Ombudsmen in all the districts as well as by engaging a large number of technical and non-technical personnel.

Similarly, under Forest Rights’ Act, our State has been proactive and the District Administrations have been able to settle large chunk of land to more than two lakh tribal beneficiaries. Implementation of Right to Information Act has been streamlined. State Government is also in the process of framing relevant rules for implementation of various provisions of PESA, that is Panchayats’ Extension in Scheduled Areas which delegates considerable power to Gram Sabhas and Palli Sabhas.

Rights based approaches to development give preference to strategies for empowerment over charitable responses.

They focus on beneficiaries as the owners of rights and the directors of development. However, achievement of these objectives requires a high degree of participation from the community and the civil society and particularly from the legal fraternity. Also, all the stakeholders have to be fully aware of the various provisions of legislation to participate effectively.

In this context, the roles of State and District Legal Services Authorities are important. I am happy to learn that large number of legal literacy camps are already being organized in rural areas for the citizen for spreading awareness about the provisions of various public welfare legislations. The State Government solicits their continuous support in this endeavour in future also.

Hon’ble Chief Justice of Orissa High Court, Shri V. Gopal Gouda said, Collectors and District Judges jointly have a role in providing Legal Aid Services to under-privileged people and establish their rights in accessing the benefits of various welfare schemes. He emphasized the role of Lok Adalats in providing quick justice to under-privileged people.

Among others Justice B.P. Das, Orissa High Court, Justice Laxmikanta Mahapatra, Orissa High Court, Shri Prafulla Samal, Minister, Panchayati Raj, Shri T.K. Mishra, Chief Secretary attended. Shri S.N. Tripathy, Secretary, Panchayati Raj gave the welcome address.

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