Why Does India Need Smart Villages?
According to the Economic Survey of 2017, nearly nine million Indians migrate every year to cities looking for better work opportunities. This gradual increase in migration has led to a burden on the cities’ resources and infrastructure. By 2050, it is estimated that more than half of India will be living in urban India.
This has called for a need to transform the villages and equip them with essential amenities, including educational institutions, healthcare facilities, waste management, roads, et cetera, making them self-sufficient.
To make this a reality, the concept of smart villages was introduced by the Central government in 2016, with an aim to upgrade 300 villages under the Shyama Prasad Mukherji R-Urban Mission. Under this mission, the government aims to provide social, economic and infrastructural development in rural areas that will make these villages smart growth centres. To further boost the plan, the government later introduced the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, which aims at integrated development of the select cluster of villages. Under this scheme, each Parliamentarian has to adopt a village and transform it into a model village.
So, what will a model smart village look like?
- Such a village will have a fully-operational Gram Panchayat or local government that will be responsible for the holistic development of the area.
- It will provide better living standards and quality of life to people of different walks of life.
- It will provide access to improved basic amenities, including educational institutions, healthcare facilities, drinking water, sanitation, along with the rights and entitlements.
- This village will use technological innovations to achieve higher productivity in farming and to help local businesses by mobilising self-help groups.
- It will provide residents improved infrastructure such as roads, parks, drainage system, et cetera.
Social mobilisation: One of the major challenges is the lack of awareness among citizens about such schemes. The aim should be to engage the residents and empower them through community programs that can create awareness and impart training for village-level maintenance of the infrastructure.
Basic facilities: The administrators will have to attend to the primary needs of the residents first. These include access to clean water, proper sanitation, etc. The aim should be to provide better quality of life and then move to other areas that need to be addressed.
Not just housing: Apart from providing affordable housing, the government should also work towards creating sustainable employment means.