Arguing that the Narendra Modi government’s flagship Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, meant to develop model villages, has “fallen way short of expectations”, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel has opposed the scheme’s expansion.
The Ministry of Rural Development had recently written to MPs, asking them to adopt a second village under the scheme. Patel has written to the Prime Minister, pinpointing several deficiencies in the scheme, and urged him to “reconsider performance of the adopted villages, relook the design of the scheme and hold an extensive dialogue with the MPs and stakeholders before deciding on a second phase of the project.”
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Patel had adopted Dhumkal Group gram panchayat in Gujarat’s Narmada district. “Unfortunately, nearly two years later, we are miles away from an Adarsh village,” he said. He said he had written to Union ministers on various issues, including absence of mobile network, lack of an all-weather access road, setting up of fair price shops and insufficient employment under MGNREGA. “Despite my attempts to seek cooperation of central and state government agencies, none of the above-mentioned endeavours have reached fruition, except for one primary school building in one of the villages,” he wrote.
“In my experience, there are two fundamental reasons as to why this scheme has fallen way short of expectation. First, there are no special funds allocated for this scheme which can be targeted to adopted villages. Second, ministries and departments concerned, both at the central and state level, have not been responsive enough to ensure all government schemes are executed at the highest priority level in the adopted villages, which was the original thinking behind the scheme,” he wrote.