In his maiden Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Modi took the opportunity to announce the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (Parliamentarian’s Model Village Scheme). Since coming into office, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has wasted no time in pushing through reforms to modernize India’s economy. His speech stressed the importance of undertaking similar efforts in rural India. Under the new scheme, each Parliamentarian is mandated to adopt three rural villages and ensure that these villages are transformed into ‘Smart Villages’ by 2019.
A detailed blueprint of the programme published by the Rural Development Ministry presents a holistic vision of development in which model villages are connected to the internet and where all households have access to clean water, sanitation and low-carbon energy. Plans suggest that each Parliamentarian will consult with villagers to ascertain where the village’s particular economic strengths are and what skills and investment are required to build on these strengths. Furthermore, model villages will be backed up by the provision of basic amenities that are often only available in urban areas, and a social security system.
The vision is for villages to retain their unique cultural and ecological heritage, empower villagers and thrive along all dimensions of development. There is tremendous synergy between Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Smart Village’ vision and the E4SV Team’s very own concept of a ‘Smart Village’. We also hold that modern energy access can catalyze development and enables villagers to lead healthy and fulfilling lives, achieve their development potential, earn a decent living and stay connected to the wider world.
With the E4SV team preparing for a year of engagement with stakeholders in India and South Asia more broadly, Prime Minister Modi’s initiative is especially encouraging. This new drive will provide more opportunities to report on exciting developments, undertake fruitful collaboration with our Indian partners and disseminate impactful findings that can benefit off-grid communities far beyond India.