We have taken key steps for gender parity in succession rights: Shivpal Singh Yadav

Uttar Pradesh Public Works Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav is not only a seasoned politician but acknowledged for his son-of-the-soil demeanour. Heading several important departments such as agriculture and cooperatives, besides public works, he has the challenging duty of ensuring timely completion of roads and bridges, especially as the state government is now focusing on infrastructure. He was the chief guest at the Business Standard Samriddhi 2015 conference. He spoke to Virendra Singh Rawat about his priorities. Edited excerpts:

How is the state dealing with land reforms and land leases in both the agriculture and housing sectors?

Till January 2015, we had allocated about 4,783 hectares of gram sabha land - 124 per cent of the 3,840-hectare target. Besides, we have provided housing to people from disadvantaged communities, and provided housing leases to 31,892 families, against the target of 25,449.

Succession rights of women have always been a challenge for governments. Your comments.

Among the measures being taken by Uttar Pradesh for gender equality, the state government has amended the relevant provisions to ensure parity for women in matters of succession and title. Unmarried daughters now enjoy equal rights in agricultural land.

What is the progress of computerisation of revenue records?

A data centre has been set up at the revenue board headquarters. Under the National e-governance plan, we have issued almost nine million income certificates, 6.6 million caste certificates and nine million domicile certificates so far. Now, people can easily get most such certificates online.

How do you rate the state government's success in the ailing cooperatives sector?

We have worked towards a revival of the 16 ailing cooperatives bank. We have also increased the equity share to enable the ailing banks to get licences from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). So far in 2014-15, we have disbursed Rs 6,065 crore and Rs 404 crore as short- and long-term loans, respectively. We are confident of achieving our loan-disbursal target this financial year. We have distributed over 3.2 million tonnes of fertilisers till February 16.

What are the steps being taken to strengthen cooperative societies?

We provided Rs 125 crore to 2,500 economically weaker primary agriculture cooperative societies in 27 districts. This financial year, we have done business of 353,000 tonnes of fertilisers and 112,000 tonnes of seeds, which have benefited over 1.5 million members.

How is the state government ensuring progress in the roads sector?

We are giving due importance to both villages and cities. In the past three years, we have upgraded and strengthened 7,155 state and district highways. Under several schemes like district plan, Nabard, trade development fund and special component plan, rural roads measuring 12,640 km have been constructed.

The linking of district headquarters with four-lane roads is a major plan of the state government. What has been the progress so far?

So far, 30 of the 75 districts have already been linked with four-lane roads. The remaining work is progressing at a fast pace.

Railway over-bridges (ROB) are key to ensuring seamless road connectivity...

A total of 45 ROBs have been sanctioned. The Budget has provided Rs 1,659 crore towards the construction and repair of bridges and ROBs in the state. Several projects are already underway in different districts and on major routes.

The state government has also started the scheme of providing free water for irrigation. Have the benefits percolated to the bottom?

During 2014-15, de-silting of canals measuring 3,364 km and 30,880 km have been undertaken in kharif and rabi seasons, respectively.