Making farming more lucrative, tapping solar energy, developing skills and promoting social harmony are some of the steps the RSS plans under a new scheme to develop villages.
The RSS has launched a ‘Gram Sankul Yojana’ under which a handful of villages will be developed as “model clusters”. The scheme was recently discussed at a three-day conclave in Mathura, where speakers from various NGOs had been invited to address 83 delegates for 23 village clusters.
At the conclave, RSS sarkaryawah (general secretary) Suresh Bhaiyaji Joshi said that under the new scheme, the RSS would work on making villages self-reliant to stop people from migrating in search of a livelihood.
The scheme will be coordinated by Mahesh Sharma, former chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission. “Initially, we will not spread out much and will instead focus on around two dozen clusters. We will develop them as models to show our good work,” Sharma said.
Sources said that in the first round, the RSS cadres have been asked to identify clusters of villages approachable by road. Sources said they have also been asked to watch out for a few other things — the village should not have many alcoholics, or a vast number of communities.
According to sources, the RSS gave these directions since it feels that working in villages with too many communities is difficult, given problems such as casteism and untouchability.
Sources said that several organisations working in villages were invited to the conclave, but only Gayatri Pariwar of Hardwar sent its representatives.
Speakers included Tulsi Tawari and Gajanan Dangle from Maharashtra, Siddhinath Singh from Jharkhand, Alok Gupta and Vivek Garg from IIT Roorkie and journalist Shivaji Sarkar from Delhi. RSS frontal organisations were also represented at the conclave. One of the speakers spoke about the need to develop ‘smart villages’ along the lines of ‘smart cities’.
A website will be launched in Delhi for the scheme on April 21. “Initially, we will not involve governments. But once we develop these villages as models, we will advise governments to take the idea forward,” Sharma said.