The Manipur Legislators Forum on AIDS (LFA) organized a One-day state level convention on HIV/AIDS for the Panchayati raj Institutions of the state on 28th December,2007 at Panchayat Bhawan, Imphal. The programme was organized in collaboration with the the Department of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Govt. of Manipur and Manipur State Panchayat Parishad. The convention was sponsored by the UNAIDS.
The Panchayati Raj Institutions’ initiative is a step towards strengthening local responses at the grassroots level by building the capacity of the communities to respond to HIV/AIDS.
The Chief Minister of Manipur O. Ibobi Singhinaugurated theconvention which was attended by about 250 elected representatives of PRIs. The Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly & Chairman of MLFA, Dr. S. Budhichandra Singh presided the programme. Other Ministers and MLAs took part in the convention.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister appealed to all people of the state to join hands with conviction in the battle against HIV/AIDS. “If we fail to take up some concrete measures against the disease now, the future of the Manipuri Nation will be in great peril,” the Chief Minister observed. He said his government was studying for allocation of funds specifically to combat HIV/AIDS in MLA Local Area Development Fund.
If the Panchayat members can help to contain HIV/AIDS in their respective localities, it would be great contribution to the health and economic sectors of the state, said Dr. S. Budhichandra Singh, Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly & Chairman of MLFA. He said that a forum of the Zilla Parishad members in the near future shall coordinate with MLFA, MACS, UNAIDS& NACOin order to work withthe singleminded agenda of creating awareness in every nook and corner of Manipur.
The speakers during the convention highlighted the proactive role of the Panchayati Raj Institutions in controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS. The panchayats at the grassroots level could help in preventing spread of HIV by providing accurate and reliable information to the rural population and also in reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS.
One of the resource persons underlined the importance of making amendments to the State AIDS Policy of Manipur in the wake of the changing trend of HIV/AIDS in the state and suggested for establishing a forum of the Zilla Parishads also on the lines of MLFA enabling mass movement for AIDS in the state.
Those who participated in the convention were Minister for Rural Development & Panchati Raj Md. Allaudin Khan, MLA & Vice- Chairman of the MLFA M. Thohrii, MLA & Secretary of the MLFA Dr. I. Ibohalbi Singh and MLA Heikham Borajao.