Delhi Govt To Turn 365 Villages Smart, To Invest Rs 558 Cr
Smart City has been a topic of debate and discussion around the feasibility of the concept. More discussions followed given that the average homebuyer is much more interested to know about the impact of ‘smart’ on the property market.
However, in times of smart cities, the Delhi government is planning to develop Smart Villages. The next-generation infrastructure, therefore, is not the right of cities alone but villages in Delhi may soon take the first step towards liveability.
Status at present
Delhi Development Minister, Gopal Rai has confirmed that his government is planning to form Gram Vikas Samitis in the 365 villages of the national capital. The agenda would be to develop these villages as harbors of both tradition and modernity. For this purpose, 452 schemes at a cost of Rs 558 crores (for both rural and urban villages) have been approved, Rai confirmed while addressing the Smart Gaon Sammelan. In terms of participation, starting next year, 14 members of the Village Board would necessarily be women while the committee will also have two student representatives each. The emphasis of the board would be the construction or repair of roads, maintenance of existing water bodies, construction of parks, gymnasiums, etc.
Why should villages turn smart?
According to a Mckinsey Global Institute study, “Automation will bring big shifts to the world of work, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics change or replace some jobs, while others are created. Millions of people worldwide may need to switch occupations and upgrade skills.” In such a scenario, the earlier government’s try and make villages technology-friendly, the better it is for the health of the economy. While technology may put a few jobs at risk, as the report points out, “History shows that technology has created large employment and sector shifts, but also creates new jobs.”
For instance, advanced economies have experienced profound sectoral shifts in employment, first out of agriculture and more recently manufacturing, even as overall employment grew. In the United States, the agricultural share of total employment declined from 60 per cent in 1850 to less than five per cent by 1970,
while manufacturing fell from 26 percent of total US employment in 1960 to below 10 per cent today. Other countries have experienced even faster declines: one-third of China’s workforce moved out of agriculture between 1990 and 2015, data with Mckinsey indicates.
If India were to replicate the technological advancement of these countries, we would need to be more prepared to handle the job-shift. Therefore, villages must turn smart ahead of schedule, perhaps it is more important than cities turning smart. Smart villages would also contain the migration from rural to urban belts which could be a big boon for cities which are anyway weighed down by the need for infrastructure and ample resources to balance the impact of migration. Moreover, if jobs stay safe, the property market wouldn’t need to go into another phase of the lull.
Not long back, the first Village Panchayat Sarpanch with an MBA degree, Chhavi Rajawat said, “We live in the comforts of the cities and often forget what that the majority of our country is comprised of villages. Everyone is directly or indirectly affected by villages.”
As the Delhi government comes up with more proposals for village development later this month, let us hope that Delhi could be the model for change that other states can replicate – a step towards sustainable opportunity.
With inputs from Housing News