He was speaking at a function organised to present Yashwant Panchyat Raj Abhiyan awards to the best ranked Panchayati Raj institutions in Maharashtra at Y B Chavan Auditorium here.

Congratulating zila parishads, panchayat samitis and village panchayats chosen for the state-level and divisional level awards, the Governor called upon Panchyati Raj institutions to work for economic empowerment of the people.     

Rao also sought participation of Panchayati Raj institutions in ensuring the success of the 'Make In India' and 'Swachh Bharat Mission' missions across the state.
    
Minister for Rural Development Pankaja Munde, state health minister Deepak Kesarkar, Member of Parliament Arvind Sawant and MLA Raj Purohit were also present.
    
Talking to reporters later, Pankaja said that the country cannot be expected to develop until its villages develop.
    
"The country's development starts with the development of its villages. It is essential that women are given reservations in panchayat level institutions. These women can be trained to work for development of their villages," she said.

"Development will not happen without women. Like the Parliament and the state legislature, gram sabhas should also be made powerful institutions, to ensure complete development," Munde said.

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