Maharashtra government plans to increase reward for 'Smart Villages'

Mumbai: The rural development department of the Maharashtra government has decided to increase cash prizes given to top villages at taluka and district levels under a scheme and name it after late NCP leader R R Patil.

Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif on Thursday said the department will soon move a proposal in this regard before the state cabinet.

The 'Smart Villages' scheme seeks to transform rural Maharashtra through development initiatives. Villages performing well in a range of areas, including cleanliness, health, education, environment, use of infotech and renewable energy sources, rewarded by the state government.

Former Deputy Chief Minister Patil, who headed the rural development department for a few years beginning 1999 under the Congress-NCP government, died in February 2015.

The NCP leader is hailed for implementing 'Sant Gadagebaba Gram Swachhta Abhiyaan' (a cleanliness initiative) and 'Mahatma Gandhi dispute-free villages scheme' during his tenure as the rural development minister.

Under the 'Smart Villages' scheme at present, a village that tops at taluka and district levels gets a reward of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 40 lakh respectively, Mushrif said.

"Our government has decided to increase the prize amounts to Rs 20 lakh and Rs 50 lakh at the taluka and district levels, respectively," he said.

A proposal to name the scheme after Patil will be presented before the cabinet, he added.

Also Read: Rape accused acquitted after minor victim remains untraceable