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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Call for civil society to be proactive

- Gujarati meet in Ranchi

The government alone cannot achieve everything, an active civil society also has a role in the development of the country. Similarly, partnership with players outside the government can help bring about positive changes.

The wise words, calling for a greater participation from the civil society in steering the state towards progress, came from Mihir Manubhai Shah, a member of Planning Commission as well as National Advisory Council, on Sunday. Shah was in Ranchi to address the annual national meet of Akhil Bharat Gujarati Samaj.

“Identify the challenges you are facing and suggest how you can contribute in solving the problems. You all can help forge meaningful partnership and float ideas that can be translated into reality,” he urged fellow Gujaratis in English, in a departure from the trend of the annual meet, where everyone else spoke in Gujarati.

Later speaking to The Telegraph, Shah elaborated that such collaborations could make the existing public-private partnership (PPP) model more meaningful.

On Jharkhand, the Planning Commission member said: “The state has abundant resources that can be used effectively for its development.”

Asked about championing the cause of decentralised governance, he suggested panchayat raj institutions could make it possible. “Jharkhand is the last state to hold panchayat elections and though the same was eventually conducted, elected panchayat bodies are yet to be given the powers they need to function properly and effectively,” Shah pointed out.

Asked about his views on the makeover of the Centre’s rural job scheme that was upgraded to MGNREGS 2.0, he said the huge fund spent on the programme should not be known as a mere “dole”, but an investment towards a constructive venture. It should be used for creation of productive assets, he added.

Shah said he came to attend the meet because of a personal connection as his mother, Vidya Ben Shah, was a founder of Akhil Bharat Gujarati Samaj.

Other dignitaries present at the function were two judges of Jharkhand High Court Justice Dhirubhai N. Patel, who was the chief guest, and Justice Pradip P. Bhatt, the guest of hounour, besides office-bearers of the samaj from across the country. “This is the 44th annual meet of the organisation and is being held in Ranchi for the first time,” said Chandrakant Raipat, president of the local unit of Akhil Bharat Gujarati Samaj.

Justice Patel lauded the organisers, saying such congregations helped create a bond within the community and instil a sense of camaraderie among members. Justice Patel urged the members to use the forum for constructive purposes and help uplift the community.

Several members of the association were also felicitated for their outstanding contribution in various fields.