ALMOST SIX years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY), urging MPs to adopt one or more villages in their constituency and turn them into ‘model villages’, a study commissioned by the Ministry of Rural Development has observed that the scheme has not made “any significant impact” and that “in the current format… (it) is not achieving the desired purpose”.
The study, conducted as part of the Fifth Common Review Mission (CRM) for “independent assessment” of the progress of various programmes and schemes of the Rural Development Ministry, was prepared by a 31-member CRM team led by Rajeev Kapoor, retired IAS and State Information Commissioner, Uttar Pradesh.
The team, with retired bureaucrats, academics and research organisations as members, visited 120 villages, including about a dozen SAGY villages, in 21 districts across eight states — Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh — during November 4-14, 2019.
Commenting on the scheme, the report said, “In many of SAGY villages, the Hon’ble MP did not give any significant money from Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS). In isolated cases, where MPs have been pro-active, some infrastructure development has taken place, but the scheme has not made any perceptible impact. As such, these villages cannot be called Model (‘Adarsh’) villages,” the report said.
Citing case studies from some of these gram panchayats, the report added, “It is recommended that the Ministry may review the scheme for enhancing its impact.”
For instance, in Kallikkad gram panchayat in Kerala, the team could not find any “remarkable achievement” under the scheme. “Even though the Neyyardam PHC is shown as a SAGY achievement but it cannot be taken as such…”
In Arood village of Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh, the team found that out of 118 activities planned in 2014, only about “60 per cent… have been achieved and the rest are pending for lack of fund”.
At Nongbah Myrdon village in Meghalaya, the team observed, “The concept of SAGY has not percolated down to field official.”
After visiting Baudai SAGY village in Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh, the team observed, “it is ironic that the Adarsh Gram is yet to be declared ODF.”
“Overall, no significant impact of this scheme was noted,” the team recorded after visiting a model village in Bawan block of Hardoi district in UP.
Elsewhere, the team observed mixed results.
Progress of work was better in the GP where the Hon’ble MP has taken keen interest and allocated substantial amount from MPLAD,” the report added.
The team had good words for a few gram panchayats.
In Takhel panchayat of Imphal East District, for instance, the team observed “public bathrooms near ponds, children’s play ground etc… which looked impressive”.
Of the two SAGY villages the team visited in Rajasthan, the report lauded Daulatgarh, a village in Bhilwara. “This is relatively developed village… This village is very urbanised due the various development schemes taken up at the initiative of the Ex-MP.”
In his first Independence Day address in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced SAGY as part of nation-building, urging Lok Sabha MPs to “make one village of his or her constituency a Model Village by 2016… after 2016, select two more villages… and after 2019… at least five model villages”. He also asked Rajya Sabha MPs to “adopt one of the villages”, saying “if we provide one model village in each district of India, then the surrounding villages shall be automatically inspired to follow that model”.
Since the launch of the scheme on October 11, 2014, only 1,855 gram panchayats have been selected across five phases, with only seven in Phase 5.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines