The high point of the 60th birthday celebrations of Mata Amritanandamayi on Friday was when the Math unveiled its most ambitious plan to adopt 101 villages in the country, with the aim of making it self-reliant.
The project known as Amrita Self Reliant Village aka Amrita Swasrayagramam project was part of the slew of welfare programmes which were inaugurated in the presence of Mata Amritanandamayi during the final day of the three-day Amritavarsham 60 at Amritapuri near here.
An estimated five lakh devotees and guests from across the globe who attended the birthday meet cheered when the project was launched by Union Minister for Transport, Road and Highways Oscar Fernandes.
The village adoption programme lays stress on the development of basic infrastructure such as houses, schools, community halls and streets lights, health care facilities, energy security, vocational training initiatives, especially for the women folk, disaster preparedness, education and adult literacy, protection of environment and self empowerment.
Union Minister for Labour Kodikunnil Suresh inaugurated the `50-crore Uttarakhand relief and rehabilitation scheme, another major initiative undertaken by the Math.
The main focus of the project will be to construct 500 houses in the flood-hit Uttarkashi and Rudraprayag areas. It would be followed by the development of other basic infrastructure and vocational training programmes for the villagers.
The ‘Amrita RITE-Rural India Tablet Education’, a programme designed for after-school tutoring and adult literacy among the rural folk with the use of custom developed tablet computers, was also unveiled on the occasion.
The e-learning project was launched by Mata by handing over a tablet to Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor. The project would be initiated in the villages adopted by the Math.
The Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi unveiled a package to provide free surgeries worth `50 crore to the poor.
The package included free kidney transplants, cardiac surgeries and cancer treatment. Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan and Union Minister Oscar Fernandes gave away the beneficiary certificates. Shashi Tharoor distributed the Math’s financial assistance of `1 lakh each to the families of the nine persons killed in a boat tragedy in Alappuzha earlier this year.
The event also witnessed the extension of various welfare programmes of the Math, including Amrita Nidhi Pension Programme and Vidyamritam Student Scholarship programme.