(The Gist of Kurukshetra) SMART VILLAGES: A WAY FORWARD-October-2017


(The Gist of Kurukshetra) SMART VILLAGES: A WAY FORWARD-October-2017


SMART VILLAGES: A WAY FORWARD

Swami Vivekananda, the young monk who had wandered through the length and breadth of India had observed. “Let new India arise out of peasants’ cottage, grasping the plough, out of
huts, cobbler and sweeper.” Such is the power of Bharat that has been the foundation to the emerging India of today.

Villages from the building blocks of our country. Agriculture, considered to be the principal source of income in the villages, contributes to around 17 percent of Indian GDP, which is much higher than the world average of 6.1 percent. However, a trend to migrate from village to city has steadily increased over the past couple of years, leading to the question of how the reverse migration can be done.

Smart India

With improved quality of life comes the need of better living. While urban India has leapfrogged into an age of digitization, embracing the concept of “Smart City”, the need to convert villages into “Smart Villages” was also felt. The first step in his direction was taken in September, 2015. In a bid to transform rural areas to economically, socially and physically sustainable spaces, the Shyama Prasad Mukherji RurbanMission was launched by the Union Government.

Shayama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM)

The Mission aims at development of rural growth clusters which have latent potential for growth, in all States and UTs, which would trigger overall development in the region. These clusters would be developed by provisioning of economic activities, developing skills & local entrepreneurship and providing infrastructure amenities. The Rurban Mission will thus, developa cluster of Smart Villages.

Challenges

India is a vast country with a lot of challenges. The components needed to make smart villages are definitely well-designed. However, the challenges lies in implementing the programmes effectively. It needs to be kept in mind that only if other socio-economic indicators are good and the basic needs of the village are already met, then can a smart village future can only be build on top a physical one.

The preparedness of the villages needs to be taken into account for any programme to be implemented. It needs to be checked that each village has a primary school for the children where there is separate toilets for both male and female children. The basic sense of hygiene needs to be imparted to the children through the schools. Mid-day meal provided to the children should be enough to supplement their nourishment. For secondary and higher secondary education, it may not be possible to have higher secondary schools in each village. As the Government wants to upgrade the education facility, it needs to be ensured that at most, five villages within a radius of 10 kms gets a higher secondary school and a Degree College.

Way Forward

New regarding achievement of the individual components often are highlighted.
• Akodara village in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat has been declared as India’s first digital village.
• Dhassai village in Thane district of Maharashtra has become India’s first cashless village.
• Karang, a small lake island in Manipur, has become the country’s first cashless island.
• Sikkim was the first state in India to be declared open defecation free followed by Himachal Pradesh.
• Pandri village in Purulia district of West Bengal became the first solar village in the country.

Many such example can be sited when it is observed that a particular village or a particular district has achieved a critical milestone. All such achievements are indeed launch able and can be sued to replicate in other parts of the country.

But only when such a village with all such facilities can be developed, it would be termed as a Smart Village. A holistic approach is needed to develop such a village. Involvement of the Panchayat to implement the Government programmes successfully along with community participation is of utmost necessity to develop the village.

But only when such a village with all such facilities can be developed, it would be termed as a Smart Village. A holistic approach is needed to develop such a village. Involvement of the Panchayat to implement the Government programmes successfully along with community participation is of utmost necessity to develop the village.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The true Indian civilisation is in the village …. Take the village people and slum-dwellers in your hand and jive them the benefit of your knowledge, skill, insight constrictive work and patriotic spirit…”. Then only can a Smart Village develop and sustain.

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