Padang (ANTARA) - The Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration (PDTT) Ministry has said that the government has successfully elevated 6,238 villages to the category of independent villages.

"As many as 6,238 villages have been declared as independent villages. This success is in line with the shrinking number of underdeveloped and extremely underdeveloped villages," Director General of Village and Rural Area Development at the PDTT Ministry Sugito said in Padang, West Sumatra, on Wednesday.

The PDTT Ministry has devised a tool called Village Building Index (IDM) in which village development is classified into five categories: extremely underdeveloped, underdeveloped, developing, developed, and independent, he informed.

Based on the IDM, the government has managed to lower the number of extremely underdeveloped and underdeveloped villages from 33 thousand to 9,584, he highlighted.

As of 2023, the government has completely eradicated villages belonging to the extremely underdeveloped category in West Sumatra, he informed. However, he noted that the province still has 345 underdeveloped villages.

He drew attention to the 106 new villages that were established in the province through expansion in 2022, saying that the villages will require the joint attention of all related parties, especially in terms of formulating measures to improve and develop their quality.

Furthermore, during the 2015–2023 period, the government has disbursed a total budget of up to Rp468 trillion (around US$31 billion) for village funds. The funds have been allocated for two purposes, namely, efforts to encourage economic growth and improve human resource quality.

As for 2023, the government has stipulated three utilization priorities of the funds, namely, national economic recovery, national priority programs, and natural and non-natural disaster mitigation.

With regard to national economic recovery, the government is pushing for the development of village-owned enterprises and the agriculture sector, which is closely linked to the government's efforts to strengthen the country's food resilience.

"Moreover, 20 percent of the funds have been allocated for food resilience strengthening efforts. The idea is based on the fact that food resilience has become a global issue, resulting from climate change and the raging conflict between Ukraine and Russia," Sugito informed.

Related news: East Kalimantan committed to elevating underdeveloped villages
Related news: Local govts must create their own programs to tap potential: VP
Related news: Villages have strategic roles in stunting convergence: Minister

Translator: Muhammad Zulfikar, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Azis Kurmala
Copyright © ANTARA 2023