Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday said recasting the rural landscape of the country was the need of the hour as India lives in rural areas, and Smart Villages would be more pertinent than Smart Cities as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Gogoi, in a statement issued by his office, said the Modi-led NDA government at the Centre should give special emphasis on the rural areas by going in for Smart Villages in a big way than focusing on Smart Cities.
“I am more in favour of developing Smart Villages in which villagers can avail the urban amenities without moving to the cities. The country can make faster progress and prosperity if Smart Villages come up in a big way. It’s the most effective way to bridge the rural-urban divide,” Gogoi said.
He also recalled former President APJ Abdul Kalam’s concept of ‘Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas’ (PURA) and asked the Centre to take that concept up on a mission mode.
The Assam chief minister also suggested that the central government should earmark Rs 5 lakh crore for implementing the Smart Villages concept across the country as envisioned by former President Kalam. In this context he asked the Centre to earmark a sum of Rs 25,000 crore for Assam in order to develop Smart Villages, against which the state government would come up with a comprehensive scheme with a matching share of 50 per cent.