Aadarsh Gram – Gudia Khera

 

SAGY – A brief overview

 

Gandhi Ji's vision of an ideal village, in his own words:

An ideal Indian village will be so constructed as to lend itself to perfect sanitation. It will have cottages with sufficient light and ventilation built of a material obtainable within a radius of five miles of it. The village lanes and streets will be free of all avoidable dust. It will have wells according to its needs and accessible to all. It will have houses of worship for all; also a common meeting place, a village common for grazing its cattle, a co-operative dairy, primary and secondary schools in which industrial education will be the central fact, and it will have panchayats for settling disputes. It will produce its own grains, vegetables and fruit, and its own khadi. This is roughly my idea of a model village. (Harijan, 9-1- 1937; Vol. 64#: Pg. 217-18.) That village may be regarded as reformed…where the largest possible number of village industries are flourishing, in which nobody is illiterate, where the roads are clean, there is a fixed place for evacuation, the wells are clean, there is harmony among the different communities, and untouchability is completely absent, in which everybody gets cow’s milk, ghee etc., in moderate quantities, in which nobody is without work, and which is free from quarrels and thefts… (Letter to Munnalal Shah, 4-4-1941; Vol.73#: Pg. 421). “My idea of village swaraj is that it is a complete republic, independent of its neighbours for its own vital wants, and yet interdependent for many others in which dependence is a necessity. Thus every village’s first concern will be to grow its own food crops and cotton for its cloth. It should have a reserve for its cattle, recreation and playground for adults and children. Then if there is more land available, it will grow useful money crops, thus excluding ganja, tobacco, opium and the like. The village will maintain a village theatre, school and public hall. It will have its own waterworks, ensuring clean water supply. This can be done through controlled wells or tanks. Education will be compulsory up to the final basic course. As far as possible every activity will be conducted on the cooperative basis. There will be no castes such as we have today with their graded untouchability. (Harijan, 26-7-1942; Vol. 76#: Pg. 308-9.) The task before every lover of the country is how to... reconstruct the villages of India so that it may be as easy for any-one to live in them as it is supposed to be in the cities. Harijan, 7–3–1936.

 

Goal of SAGY

The goal of Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) is to translate this comprehensive and organic vision of Mahatma Gandhi intom reality, keeping in view the present context.

 

Values of SAGY

Far beyond mere infrastructure development, SAGY aims at instilling certain values in the villages and their people so that they get transformed into models for others. These values include:

i. Adopting people’s participation as an end in itself – ensuring the involvement of all sections of society in all aspects related to the life of village, especially in decision making related to governance

ii. Adhering to Antyodaya – enabling the “poorest and the weakest person” in the village to achieve well-being

iii. Affirming gender equality and ensuring respect for women

iv. Guaranteeing social justice

v. Instilling dignity of labour and the spirit of community service and voluntarism

vi. Promoting a culture of cleanliness

vii. Living in consonance with nature – ensuring a balance between development and ecology

viii. Preserving and promoting local cultural heritage

ix. Inculcating mutual cooperation, self-help and self-reliance

x. Fostering peace and harmony in the village community

xi. Bringing about transparency, accountability and probity in public life

xii. Nurturing local self-governance

xiii. Adhering to the values enshrined in the Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties of the Indian Constitution

 

Objectives of SAGY

The main objectives of SAGY are:

i. To trigger processes which lead to holistic development of the identified Gram Panchayats.

ii.To substantially improve the standard of living and quality of life of all sections of the population through –

a. improved basic amenities

b. higher productivity

c. enhanced human development

d. better livelihood opportunities

e. reduced disparities

f. access to rights and entitlements

g. wider social mobilization

h. enriched social capital

iii.To generate models of local level development and effective local governance which can motivate and inspire neighboring Gram Panchayats to learn and adapt.

iv.To nurture the identified Adarsh Grams as schools of local development to train other Gram Panchayats.

 

Strategies to Achieve the Objectives of SAGY

1.     To bring out attitudinal changes in the mindset of the villagers by screening documentaries on women empowerment, dowry, female feticide etc.

2.     Broadening the horizons of goal of mobilizing the deprived sections of the society to ensure their access to rights.

3. Strengthening the PRIs.

4.     Educating the people about hygiene and sanitation.

5.     Enriching social capital by bringing individuals and institutions under a common platform i.e. PRI, NGOs, CBOs etc.

6.     Facilitating face to face interaction and dialogue among the villagers having different motives, interests and backgrounds to accomplish the motto of “Sabka Vikas Sabka Saath”.

 

Identification of Adarsh Gram

A Gram Panchayat is the basic unit as per the guidelines of SAGY. Its population should be 3000-5000 in plain areas and 1000-3000 in hilly, tribal and difficult areas. In districts where this unit size is not available, Gram Panchayats approximating the desirable population size may be chosen. The MP is free to identify a suitable Gram Panchayat for being developed as Adarsh Gram, other than his/her own village or that of his/her spouse. The MP will identify one Gram Panchayat to be taken up immediately, and two others to be taken up a little later. Lok Sabha MP has to choose a Gram Panchayat from within his/her constituency and Rajya Sabha MP a Gram Panchayat from the rural area of a district of his/her choice in the State from which he/she is elected. Nominated MPs may choose a Gram Panchayat from the rural area of any district in the country. In the case of urban constituencies, (where there are no Gram Panchayats), the MP will identify a Gram Panchayat from a nearby rural constituency. Primarily, the goal is to develop three Adarsh Grams by March 2019, of which one would be achieved by 2016. The Hon'ble MP of Sirsa constituency has selected Gudia Khera village under SAGY. Thereafter, five such Adarsh Grams (one per year) will be selected and developed by 2024.