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Ministry launches action plan on rural business hubs

Staff Correspondent

Panchayat participation will be ensured for development of local resources by industrial houses

NEW DELHI: The Panchayati Raj Ministry has initiated an action plan to establish rural business hubs. The thrust areas identified for development involving panchayats are based on utilisation of resources and felt-needs of locals and their absorptive capacity.

Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar stated this at a meeting on "Rural Business Hubs" organised here by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Saturday. This was the first review of the national presentation on rural business hubs organised by the CII last year for elected panchayat members.

A working committee would be constituted under the Panchayati Raj Secretary with representatives from the CII and the sectors of art and culture, textiles, fashion industry and handicrafts and handloom, Mr. Aiyar said. The Ministry would soon get in touch with all panchayats through State Governments to ensure their participation in the development of locally available resources by industrial houses with financial help from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and technical knowhow from the Institute of Engineers.

The States identified for developing rural business hubs were Punjab, Uttaranchal, Kerala, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

The core areas were processing of agricultural produce, development of handicrafts and handlooms, establishment of small power plants based on biomass and promotion of biofuels through the cultivation of jatropha for biodiesel and sorghum and sugarcane for ethanol production.

The Ministry would collect response from States for creation of the hubs and this exercise would be followed by a second presentation later this year.

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