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MODEL VILLAGES

                                `                   - Sundar Vadaon

The Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi had dreamt of Gram Swaraj & Model Villages.  He had always foreseen self reliant and peaceful Model Villages. Similarly several great leaders of various Nations vs.  Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Nasser and Mao have dreamt of Model Villages in various Countries across the globe.

 

          Indian civilization and culture is the oldest in known history of Human kind.  Indus valley, Mohanjodaro Harappa and Vedic age and culture are very well known in the World.  Several Nations have followed Indian civilization and culture.

 

          Nagarjuna, Arya Bhatta, and many other scholars have very elaborately preached regarding educational, cultural and economic development of the human kind, the preachings of which were followed by many Nations in the World.

 

          From Nagarjuna to Amarthyasen our great Nation had offered vision, and wisdom for the well being of human kind.  From Emperor Ashoka to Vivekananda to Tagore we have shown how concerned we are regarding the development of the human kind.

          For several centuries, there was no caste system in India.  In the initial period caste was related to the avocation in which one is involved.  From being peaceful, progressive, and visionary over the centuries the villages are divided on caste, community, land and resources in to fragments both in the mind and on the ground.

         

Just as partition of India had its aftermath repercussions, the divisions and fragmentation of villages had its irreversible damage for several centuries.  Hence the concept of Model Villages seen in the contemporary reality with its historical loss of time and resources making a great Nation stagnant, degraded, degenerated, under developed and still developing even after 5,000 years of its history and civilizations.

         

Added to the woes, as if they are not enough, Nations with not even 500 years history and civilization are involved in reverse teachings and preaching of how best we develop our villages, how we should restructure our institutions, how we should give fillip to our growth and economy, and how best we utilize their technical, scientific and economic support and how we should focus on reduction of poverty and how we should live and survive.  What has not been achieved over centuries will always remain as historical  failure giving scope for any number of world leaders to preach and teach us of what we should have done simply as a way of life.

 

          It is unfortunate that our great Nation has now slipped into the position of Nation of followers, than Nation of leaders for the World.  Some where down the line the character of on average Indian has changed from being simple, honest, and pure, to the character of hypocrisy and duplicity of thought and action.

 

          Over the centuries majority of the people of our Nation have been relegated to migrant laborers, from our great villages, migration of both with in the Nation, and outside and in the contemporary World being the people amenable to body shopping whether it was in the era of brain drain or even in the current era of reverse brain drain, of the age of BPO’s, KPO’s and call centers.

 

          From being powerful people in more or less self reliant villages, we have become dependents and parasites whether it was PL480, World Bank, other developmental agencies, poverty reduction projects or even employment guarantee scheme.

 

          Both in our Nation and in the World umpteen number of preachers and teachers were born, umpteen number of institutions were created for poverty reduction which served as rehabilitation centers for the haves not and have nots remained where they are for centuries.

 

          As if the developmental process is not continuous and progressive, the entire process of development had to rebegin again from the Dawn of Independent India.

 

          The colonial era, the British Raj, the divide and rule policy have all achieved their objectives of fragmenting and plundering the Nation of its rich natural, human, cultural, economic and intellectual resources making the Nation a resource poor and developing Nation.

 

          Any number of success stories of Indians contributing greatly to the economic, scientific, and intellectual development of other Nations,  more of USA, Canada, UK, Australia & New Zealand can be seen, as long as Indians are living and working abroad, and the paradox of opposite is a reality if they were to return to India and live and work in Indian system, shamelessly making our system to be notoriously known in the World of all its man made maladies as a sign of the negative progression in the last six decades of governance of Independent India.

         

From the famous speech on the eve of Independence of Jawaharlal Nehru of “Trust with Destiny” to his famous words that the dams are “Temples of the Nation”  to “Garibi Hatavo” of Indira Gandhi to “Our Nation Lives in Villages” of Rajiv Gandhi to that “we have introduced employment guaranteed scheme” of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, to the observations that “Self Help Groups are revolutionizing the development process in Rural India” of Rahul Gandhi much water has flown in Ganges of several approaches, policies, programme, projects and the so called people’s centered policies and participatory development, no doubt of making certain in roads in to the process of development and change, and achieving of Model Villages  still remaining a distant dream.

 

          A great number of efforts were put in whether it was the so called planned process of development, mixed economy, top to bottom and bottom to top approaches, decentralization of Panchayat Raj, 73rd and 74th  amendments of the constitution, approaches for employment of poor women, children, youth, senior citizens, Govt. & NGOs collaboration, external aid, Nationalization of Banks, efforts for promoting rural credit, green and white revolutions, second green revolution and second freedom struggle all of which have no doubt contributed for revival of economic growth, reconstructions of villages and reversal of degradation of resources in  the  villages, and the ultimate goal of “Model Villages” still to the achieved.

 

          Govt of India had been playing a very proactive role since the introduction of Integrated Rural Development Programme in 1981,  Drought Prone Areas Programme in 1983, to Establishment of Rural Development, Human Resources Development, Women & Child Welfare, Social Justice & Empowerment and several other Departments concerning the Welfare of the people in the villages with required schemes and release of funds directly targeting the poor in the villages, as well as focusing on poverty reduction and economic development of vast masses in the villages.

 

          Through the Ministries of Environment & Forest, Wasteland Development Board, Eco Development Board, great fillip to Rural Development, Agriculture and Agri related activities natural resources as well as Human Resources Developments were attempted so as to focus on Integrated Development of the Villages.

 

          India and China were similarly placed sixty years ago what China had achieved in the last six decades is what India had missed.  Base foot teachers, doctors and social workers have revolutionized the development processes of China more so in rural China.  Unfortunately in our great Nation of Teachers and preachers, who gave vision and wisdom to whole World centuries ago, the post independent Indian teachers, doctors and social workers along with lethargic beaurocracy have let us down so badly resulting in the present mess in which we are all pushed, in to China is on its way to become a super power while we are still struggling for the same in our Nation.

 

          While the first five years plans have focused on agriculture, second five years plans have focused on Irrigation. Similarly later plans have focused on industrialization, education, employment finally culminating to focus on eradication of poverty, promotion of Human Development and empowerment of the poor.

 

          Our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was a visionary. Similarly we had great leaders at the helm of affairs, several committed beaurocrats, and many devoted social workers but unfortunately the coordination and cooperation required among various agencies was never forth coming to the required extent resulting in a or very slow pace of development.

 

          India is the only Country in the World which has witnessed the second doubling of population in 50 years.  While the population below poverty line were about 45% at the time of independence, 36% at 1971, and around 20% at 1991.  While the percentage of population below poverty line is halved, the number of poor below poverty line are doubled due to second doubling of population.  All the positive indicators of development were affected resulting in stagnation of economic growth.

 

          While sixties and seventies have seen focusing on the education & employment, in  eighties the focus was on poverty reduction, in Nineties it was on Human development and 21st century’s focus is on empowerment and rights based campaigns for empowerment of the poor, women, children, senior citizens and the youth.

 

          United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is publishing Human Development reports since middle of Nineties i.e. for the last one decade.  As per the HRD Report of 2005 India is ranked at 135th position in Human development index.  Several Nations such as Srilanka etc are ahead of us in HDI. Low literacy rates, poor nutrition levels, low in comes, and low life expectations at birth are contributing to poor HDI

 

          Rich and developed Nation such as USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan & Sweden has very good HD indexes.

          Amarthyasen in his book on Indian Development has elaborately   dealt on how Kerala State is well developed and the so called BIMARU States are languishing in HD indexes.  In our Country Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashta, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat have better HDI, compared to Utter Pradesh, Bihar, Assam Orissa, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir and other States.

 

          Since last 4-5 years Planning Commission of India and several States are publishing the State Human Development Reports.  There are now conscious efforts to focus on development of various States of our Country.

 

          Govt. of India during the last two decades has initiated several proactive measures for development of poor resource villages.

 

          In late eighties by launching National Literacy Mission and by giving fillip through zilla saksharatha samithies the focus was on literacy and education for all.  The Govt. of India has brought in campaign approach of promoting education for all.  I was fortunate to implement literacy campaign in Nalgonda, Chittoor and Anantapur districts form 1990-1995 the period of which has seen massive social mobilization, volunteerism and several linkages of literacy with development.  Similarly by launching National Waste Lands Development Board, & Eco Development Boards, fillip was given to Natural Resources Development.

 

          ICDS is being implemented for the last two decades as one of the very important programme of targeting the mothers and preschool going children, and as the years passed by due to ICDS, several of women and children were benefited in our Country.

 

          Ministry of Environment & Forest Govt. of India issued guidelines for people participation and sharing of usufructs through participatory Joint Forest management and over the years through out the Country thousands of V.S.S are formed with positive results of protection of forests, ecological reconstructions and positive growth rate in forests of our Country.

 

          Through IRDP and Trysem fillip was given in various rural evocations of providing self employment ventures with subsidy resulting in several lakhs of people coming out of poverty line.   Similarly training for self employment (Trysem) was also given fillip which resulted in thousands of people taking up self employment activities.

 

          Through DPAP, fillip was given to the Integrated Water Shed Development for the villages affected by drought and low rain fall, which had resulted in participatory Water Sheds Development activities in thousands of Water Sheds in India resulting in increased level of ground water, increased production and increased income level of stake holders in the Water Shed Development activity.

 

          The funding to Rural Development, Agriculture, Agri related areas has been tremendously increased by the Govt. of India over the years.  Similarly, several new schemes have been introduced for welfare of rural poor.

          Last 3-4 decades have seen tremendous improvement in NGOs sector working for rural poor.  There has been rapid growth of organizations working in rural areas, as well as the levels of funding by Govt. of India and external funding agencies resulting in tremendous growth, yielding results in Govt & NGO collaborations.

 

          Since 73rd & 74th amendments of the Constitution, fillip was given to decentralization of Panchayat Raj Institutions and empowering them with development assistance.  Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister had given real fillip to activities of Panchayat Raj Institutions and also focus on IT & IT enabled services. Rajiv Gandhi had envisaged village knowledge centers for information revolution.

 

          Along side, the Govt. and the NGOs have put in several efforts for poverty reduction, empowerment of poor, and integration resources development by mobilizing local resources, from the Govt. International development agencies as well as from individual donors committed for the cause of the social development.

 

          Similarly several Corporate Sectors Industries are also actively working for Corporate Social Responsibility of focusing on social development.  Several NRIs and the individual donors are also coming forward for development of the villages.

 

          Several banks and insurance companies are also focusing on social development under community based approaches.    

 

          A new phenomenon of individual donors from developed Countries donating very high amounts for social development in poor Countries also is being done which is a very positive sign of various role players in the field.

 

          We have very rich experiences and expertise of implementation of campaign mode of development.

 

          The campaign mode of development was a very innovative approach of implementing a campaign for holistic development of a district.

 

          The salient features are

 

1.                 Mass mobilization for creation of awareness, motivation and people’s participation.

2.                 Networking of the efforts of all the developmental functionaries.

3.                 Pooling of physical & financial resources.

4.                 Self reliance & Gram Swaraj.

5.      Integrated Natural and Human Resources Development.

 

We have implemented campaign mode of development in the districts of Nalgonda, Chittoor and Anantapur from 1990-1996 and it had yielded excellent results. Subsequently, the approaches were replicated in several other districts of A.P. and other States of our Country.

 

          The impact of campaign mode of development are

 

1.                 Administrations has reached to the door steps of the people.

2.                 Voluntarism and voluntary social work was promoted to a great extent.

3.                 Participatory developmental efforts and approaches yielded good results of resources development.

4.                 Developmental linkages with literacy and development campaign towards education for all, Health for all Environment for all could be seen due to village Committees working for integrated development.

5.                 Community resources mobilization, Shramadan etc., were very evident of people’s involvement in the campaign mode of holistic development.

 

More or less such approaches have been replicated by various State Governments in several parts of the Country.

 

Whether it was micro planning and bottom to the top approach of Govt. of Kerala, Adarsh Gao Yojana of Govt. of Maharashtra, Janmabhoomi and Indiramma programmes of Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, Villages Self Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, Right to Information approach of Rajasthan and similar and several other efforts of various other State Govt. of our Country, essentially good governance and participatory approaches of various Govt. catalyzed efforts can be seen.

Similarly whether it was Seemul Undong of South Korea or Grameena Bank experience of Bangladesh, similar approaches and efforts of people’s centered integrated resources development can be seen.

 

Ultimately the need of the hour is to reorient all the approaches & efforts towards achieving the goal of Modern Villages.

The following are the suggestion for achieving the Model Villages.

 

1.                 Each of the districts of each of the State is required to be divided, democrated and delineated on Micro Water Shed Basis, based on GIS and GPS based approaches so as to have a scientific approach of Natural Resources Development.

2.                 The micro Water sheds are required to be prioritized in to very high, medium and low priority Water Sheds and treatment has to be based on prioritized Water Sheds.

3.                 Ridge to valley basis approach is required to be adopted in integrated resources development through Water shed approach.

4.                 Model Village may be defined as one in which there is an Integrated Natural & Human resources development through peoples participation, where in people’s are in harmony with Nature for peace, progress and prosperity.

5.                 Model Village can also be defined as the village in which due to integrated Natural and Human resources development, the livelihoods are improved, education and economic levels are improved there are improved income levels leading to overall improvement in resources development and economic development of the villages.

6.                 An integrated, resource Development Plan based on micro planning is required to be prepared for each village through PRA and participatory approaches so as to reflect the felt needs of peep and elicit people’s participation in development.

7.                 A participatory poverty assessment is required to be done for each of the family so as to have life cycle approach of planning for each member of family for development.

8.                 Families who are below poverty line, poor, marginalized, land less poor are required to be identified for promoting resources development.

9.                 Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats analysis is required to be implemented for identifying strengths and weaknesses of the people.

10.            Community resources generation is required to be promoted in a big way.  Low cost approaches are required be promoted followed by cost effective approaches and cost approaches.

11.            Ridge to valley treatment of soil & moisting conservation, rain water harvesting and integrated resources development is required to be done aimed at conservation of water, soil and enhancement of livelihood and production and productivity of the micro water shed.

12.            Integrated waste lands development is required to be taken up matched with resources development so as to promote rain water harvesting, resources development and enhancement of productivity and promotion of employment to vast rural masses.

13.            Protection of village eco systems desalting of village tanks and promotion of ground water recharge is required to be taken up so as to promote integrated development of villages.

14.            In the Ridge areas, if reserve forest areas are available community joint forest management with people’s participation is required to be taken up so as to promote protection, conservation and resources development of precious forest areas. 

15.            In community lands i.e., common property resources of the villages, integrated resources development is required to be promoted and taken up for maximizing the production of CPR areas.

16.            All efforts to promote environmental conservation, prevention of pollution and promotion of resources development is required to be taken up.

17.            Traditional practices of rain water harvesting, resources development, traditional culture, customs etc more so in tribal & back ward areas are required to be taken up aimed at protection of village eco system with traditional wisdom.

18.            Adequate focus is required on HRD with focus on education.  All efforts to promote education for all including school drop outs, disabled, and adult illiterates to be taken up so as to achieve EFA.

19.            Health for all is required to be taken up with adequate focus on life cycle approach and also to see that all efforts are put in so that all the age groups are properly attended to in their requirement of health needs.

20.            Employment for all is required to be taken up with employment guarantee schemes, self employment opportunities and even regular employment opportunities available.

21.            Environment for all is required to be given priority.

22.            Water for all is required to be given fillip with clean drinking water and adequate water availability for domestic needs.

23.            Shelter for all is required to be focused with sufficient opportunities of providing shelter for the people.

24.            Infrastructure of the village in term of rural roads, connectivity etc is required to be given priority.

25.            Sanitation for all is required to be focused in a big way.

26.            Rural cooperatives of Agriculture, Dairy, Artisan are to be promoted.  Marketing of the products to be given priority. 

27.            Self Help Groups with adequate credit and marketing linkages are required to be promoted in a big way.

28.            While the positive approaches, micro credit is required to be promoted, the ills of micro finance is required to be checked toughly.    

29.            Agriculture is required to be promoted in a big way with all its requirements  of inputs, subsides, scientific methods, high yielding varieties, credit  linkages, adequate marketing for the products and a very proactive approach of promoting farming.

30.            Agri related horticulture, sericulture and floriculture are required to be promoted in a big way.

31.            Animal Husbandry and Dairy is required to be promoted in a big way including promotion of door step artificial insemination services so as to maximize milk production.

32.            The Dairy cooperatives are required to be promoted in a big way.

33.            Fisheries, Aviary Piggery and any other avocations are required to be promoted.

34.            Tree planting in all the vacant lands, road side, Railway line etc, is required to be promoted in a big way.

35.            Villages knowledge centers are required to be promoted so as to utilize IT enabled services for forming, agri related activities, drought relief, disaster management and resources development.

36.            Through village knowledge centers E-commerce is required to be promoted, so as to promote marketing of the products of SHGS, several artisans, involved in commerce.

37.            Net working of the efforts of Govt. & NGOs are required to be taken up.

38.            Volunteerism and voluntary social work is required to be promoted in a big way.

39.            Adoption of villages by Industries, NRIs, Philanthropists etc is required to be promoted.

40.            Corporate Social Responsibility is required to be roped in for resources development.

41.            Child labour is required to be eliminated totally by promoting education of school going children.

42.            Social evils are required to be prevented.

43.            Replication of successful model villages approaches are required to be done.

44.            The strength of the village in term of community resources etc., is required to be promoted so as to achieve long term development.

 

Ultimately by promoting integrated and holistic development, and by empowering poor women, SCs, STs, Backward people, tribal, disabled and other disadvantaged and by focusing on education, employment, income and economy and by promoting multi sectoral coordination and convergence among the government departments, NGOs and Peoples Committees and by joint action for holistic development model villages can be created and developed.

 


Understand