|Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Discuss various provisions of Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana’ (SAGY). Mention various issues in realising the goals of this scheme.
Conclusion. Way forward.
The Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana was launched for clean and developed villages of rural India. This is a prestigious village development project, which focuses on the all-round development of specific villages, including economic, social and cultural growth and development. In this each Member of Parliament (MP ) will take up the responsibility of providing infrastructure and developing 3 villages. In the same manner, the State Governments should also create schemes and more and more villages can be covered under this.
Main Objective of Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana:
- Gandhi’s dream: The scheme is based on the concept of rural development of Mahatma Gandhi which revolved around creating model villages for transforming swaraj (self rule) into su-raj (good governance).
- Holistic development: The objective is to create holistic development of all the adopted villages by the MPs in all aspects- human, personal, social, economic and environmental development, including provision of basic amenities, services, security and good governance.
Features of Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana:
- Village adoption: Each MP would adopt a village of his choice, which should not be his own or his in-laws. This should be turned into a model village. Then two more villages should be chosen and developed. After 2019, one village should be taken up every year until 2024.
- Poverty alleviation: Villages should be adopted not from urban constituencies but from nearby rural areas. Emphasis on empowering the poor families to get rid of poverty by implementing a proper plan for every identified gram panchayat.
- All round development: Focuses on transforming villages into model villages by providing all round infrastructural development along with emphasis on gender equality, women empowerment and dignity, social justice, cleanliness, community service, peace , harmony and eco-friendliness.
- Housing and education: Each village will have pucca houses for homeless villagers and proper sanitation facilities.
Each village will have smart schools with IT-enabled classrooms, e-libraries and web-based teaching.
- Healthcare: The plan also aims to provide basic health care facilities to all with health card, medical examination, and total immunisation.
- Other benefits: Other benefits to be provided are piped drinking water, connectivity to the main road, electricity supply to all households, libraries in the village, telecom and broadband connectivity including CCTVs in public areas. Emphasis is also be given on e-governance. SAGY will ensure the provision of Aadhaar cards to all villagers.
- Insurance: SAGY will also provide insurance schemes like Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana and universal access to the Public Distribution System to eligible families for social security, old-age, disability and widow pensions.
- Personal development: Besides these, SAGY also lays focus on “personal development” which includes training and awareness on hygienic behaviour, physical exercise and reducing alcoholism, smoking and substance abuse.
Challenges to the scheme:
- Monitoring: The biggest challenge is difficult for MPs to monitor the on-ground development on a regular basis, in the absence of a platform where they can oversee the progress on different interventions.
- Implementation: While the SAGY talks about convergence and effective utilisation of available Central and state schemes, most MPs raise the point that it is extremely difficult to know about the provisions under each scheme and the structure and framework for its implementation on the ground.
- Fund scarcity: The biggest challenge in SAGY is the lack of any specific fund allocation for the programme. Sarpanch are not able to get any work initiated because of lack of funds. They claimed that funds may have been held up by other authorities, or possibly that the MP was blocked from releasing funds by the government, and may have thus precluded any development in earnest.
- Coordination: Activities under SAGY are so diverse that close coordination and convergence will be required across different ministries, departments, schemes of the Government of India, MPLADS, state government and the private sector to implement the scheme successfully. The coordination is the biggest challenge.
- Village selection: Another problem is related to the selection of the village. Guidelines provide that an MP can select any village except his own village or his spouse’s village. This puts MPs in dilemma. If they select a village, then voters from other villages may question the move.
- Political will: Some MPs whose constituency is in an urban area (e.g. Delhi) have to select a village from some other rural constituency. They are often unwilling to do so because, then they will have to spend their MPLAD funds outside their constituency which won’t bring any political benefits for them.
SAGY presents an opportunity to Parliamentarians to comprehensively focus on the development of villages initiating a bottom up approach of development. After the launch of this scheme, many states such as Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Maharashtra have launched programmes for rural development on similar lines. The Smart Village-Smart Ward programme initiated by the Government of Andhra Pradesh is an extremely innovative and unique model as it promotes active private and corporate participation in the development of villages. More such efforts are needed.