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Modi's model village project to merge mutilple welfare schemes

The scheme will dovetail funding from all existing rural development, health, sanitation, nutrition and other schemes and bring focus of delivery

Nitin Sethi 

The central government’s Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (Parliamentarian’s Model Village Scheme) will primarily be a remixed serving of existing development schemes, focusing on select villages in each constituency and under the close scrutiny of Members of Parliament (MP). However, the new model village scheme is unlikely to see any large additional funds being provided by the Centre.

A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Business Standard that the scheme will dovetail funding from existing rural development, health, sanitation, nutrition and other schemes and bring focus to the delivery aspect. The MPs will also be asked to utilise their existing scheme grants towards the scheme. A small amount of additional funding may be made available later, though the details are not yet finalised, sources said. More granular guidelines for the scheme are expected after the formal announcement on October 11, the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan.

However, it is still unclear how the scheme would be different from the of the Rural Development Ministry, which also intends to provide urban infrastructure in rural areas, or what additional incentives or resources the new programme would provide MPs with to to bring about transformation.

As of now, the scheme asks Parliamentarians to adopt a village as a starting point and then achieve the holistic development targets in three villages by the end of 2019. This was announced by Prime Minister on August 15.

The scheme itself has been fleshed out by officials at the with the Prime Minister's office keeping a close watch not only on the scheme but also its launch event for which invites have been sent out to all MPs, state rural development ministers and secretaries.

The scheme includes a gamut of activities, which in themselves are not novel. These include connecting schools in the model villages to the internet, providing access to internet libraries, ensuring every house in the selected village has a toilet, piped water connection and clean energy source, making sure every family has a permanent house, and roads to walk on. The villages will be turned in to 'smart villages', the scheme suggests.

One of the cases officials have tried to emulate is of Punsari village in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat. The Punsari Gram Panchayat has been awarded both by as state chief minister and the earlier UPA government at the Centre for bringing in rural transformation.

"The point is to find synergy between existing schemes and new ideas, focusing on select villages but have clear time-bound outcomes," a senior government official said,

The UPA had launched a similar Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana in 2009-10 that was focused specifically on villages which had Scheduled Caste communities as more than half the population. The UPA had steadily increased the budget spending on the scheme, planning to take it to 44,000 villages under the 12th five-year Plan. Some states, too, have carried out similar village-focused schemes trying to converge all development programmes of states and the Centre in the past.

The new NDA government scheme, on the other hand, expects Members of Parliament to not just oversee the implementation of all the existing schemes but also to make sure the multiple development targets are met through micro-management. For example, it requires the MPs to focus on personal and community hygiene and cleanliness of village residents. They will also be asked to ensure that adults and children inculcate the habit of taking daily baths and washing their hands to maintain hygiene. The scheme also envisages MPs providing recreational spaces as well as sporting options to villagers, ranging from yoga centres and walking and running spaces to sports grounds.

First Published: Wed, October 08 2014. 11:19 IST