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Rajasthan to develop model Atal Seva Kendra to honour late PM

As a mark of tribute to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Rajasthan government is planning to develop a model Atal Seva Kendra, which will house literature, information and other objects related to the late Prime Minister’s life, along with state-of-the-art public utility e-service facilities.

The model Atal Seva Kendra will be unique and act as a living memorial to Vajpayee, said Rajasthan’s panchayati raj minister Rajendra Singh Rathore. “We have not decided on the location. But it should be near Jaipur. Apart from that we want to make Vajpayee immortal by developing all Atal Seva Kendras as the most efficient public service centres,” he told ET.

Rajasthan has nearly 10,000 Atal Seva Kendras (earlier called Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendras) at village panchayat and panchayat samiti levels which provide public utility services to rural people. It also has 33 Atal Suvidha Kendras at district level.

“Atalji will remain alive in our villages and panchayats through these kendras. We will improve service standards at these centres, which currently offer online services like Aadhaar card, PAN card, utility bill payments, ration cards and other government-to-public services,” said Rathore.

In 2014, the Vasundhara Raje government had renamed the kendras to commemorate Vajpayee’s birthday on December 25. The decision had invited widespread criticism and was challenged in the court. Earlier this year, Rajasthan High Court quashed the Raje government’s renaming order and directed the state government to reinstate the original name – Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendra. However, the high court order has not been implemented yet as the centres still bear Vajpayee’s name.

“We will not let Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s name to be removed from these centres which are directly connected with the hearts of the rural population,” Rathore said.

Meanwhile, Vajpayee is set to get a place in the school textbooks of Rajasthan. The state government has decided to include his biography in textbooks of the state education board. Rajasthan education minister Vasudev Devnani told ET that the biography would be included under the policy of adding stories of national heroes to evoke nationalism among students. “We have yet to decide the class in which we would be adding the chapter on Atalji. But it will focus on his childhood, unparalleled statesmanship, emergency, Kargil war and nuclear tests, among other inspiring events of his life,” he said.

Besides, Union minister of state for law and justice, and corporate affairs, PP Chaudhary has sought renaming of the medical college in Pali district to commemorate Vajpayee. “I have requested the chief minister to name the college after Atalji,” he said.

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