Friday, October 24, 2014

Benefits from Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

The new scheme launched by the present Prime Minister of Sansad (Parliament) Adarsh (Model) Gram (Village) Yojana (Scheme) (SAGY) encourages Members of Parliament from both Houses to identify and develop one village from their constituency as a model village by 2016, and two more by 2019.

The Parliament of India consists of two houses: The Lok Sabha or House of the People and the Rajya Sabha or Council of States.  The Lok Sabha  is the lower house of the Parliament of India. The Rajya Sabha is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Membership is limited to 250 members. The Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of the people from 543 constituencies, chosen by direct election on the basis of adult suffrage.

Thus, there are about 800 parliamentarians (543 members in Lower House plus 250 members from Upper House) and in three years, about 2,400-odd could be advantageous villages out of the 6 lakh villages countrywide. If States were to initiate their own similar schemes with MLAs, 6,000 to 7,000 villages could get this advantage. Also, one good village can affect an entire area, and a viral effect could begin – as per Mr. Prime Minister.

This is not a new fund allocated scheme, but a people’s participatory scheme and is a demand-driven scheme.  In fact, MPLAD funds are to help the few selected villages to become the model villages.

The SAGY requires each MP to identify one village with a population in the range of 3,000-5,000 in the plains and 1,000-3,000 in the hills within a month. MPs can choose any village except their own or their spouse’s. There is no other criterion.

Funds: Then they are to work for convergence of existing schemes for socio-economic development of the area. MPs are expected to facilitate a village development plan, motivate villagers to take up activities and use the Rs.5-crore MPLAD fund to fill gaps for funds besides mobilizing “additional resources especially from Corporate Social Responsibility” in sewage and water supply schemes. The SAGY would maximize the use of MPLAD funds over the largest possible area, as this will instead require focusing the funds in a village. In the process, MPs would be able to identify the shortcomings in implementation of these schemes. It need not be taken as that entire MPLAD funds are for this purpose.

Benefits: The activities and outcomes will cover broad development indicators such as health, nutrition and education through organizing immunization drives, improving mid-day meal schemes, improving Aadhaar enrolment, setting up “smart schools” with IT-enabled classrooms and e-libraries, improving panchayat infrastructure under schemes such as MNREGA and Backward Regions Grants Fund. A series of measures speak of better implementation of existing and new schemes and laws including RTI Act, National Food Security Act, National Rural Livelihood Mission, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, while at the same time emphasizing “activities to improve hygienic behavior” by encouraging bathing among villagers, use of toilets and exercising for thirty minutes every day. It envisions social development in villages through identifying a village day, a village song, and focusing on alternative methods of dispute resolution.

Monitoring and Evaluations: District Collectors will carry out a baseline surveys and then chair monthly review meetings to monitor progress. There will be real-time web-based monitoring and a first review after five months by an independent agency.

At the State-level, Chief Secretaries will lead an empowered committee on the same and the Minister for Rural Development and Secretary, Rural Development, will chair two national-level committees to track the scheme. SAGY is aiming at socio-economic transformation in the rural society.  The aim would be to inculcate a sense of pride, volunteerism, and self-reliance in villages. The success of SAGY will be judged not by the allocation of funds and budgets spent, but by its ability to fundamentally transform the culture of rural governance.

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