Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched National Rurban Mission in Chattisgarh. It is an ambitious programme of central government which bid to transform rural areas to economically, socially and physically sustainable spaces. The programme aims to bring basic infrastructure facilities in these areas and various other basic amenities that are found in urban areas.
The programme assumes significance given the rate of migration from rural to urban area, which invariably creates a number of problems like lack of sanitation, infrastructure, education, health etc. It is also important to understand that no nation can become developed by a meagre population living in urban areas. Under the programme 300 rural urban clusters catering to at least 4 adjoining villages will be developed with modern amenities by 2019. It is to be noted that Rurban Mission is in line with Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of Gram swaraj or self sufficient economic villages.
Skill development, Agro Processing/Agri Services/Storage and 12 other components has been the focus of Prime minister’s speech during the launch of the programme. It is necessary to analyse the potential of skill development in rural areas given the profile of demographic dividend and declining returns in agriculture. Imparting training and skill to the people in rural areas will have positive returns in curbing migration to urban areas and it will help to create self sustaining clusters of development in areas far away from urban centres.
Similar schemes have been implemented before, for example PURA by previous government. PURA which was completely at the hands of private sector has failed to take off completely due to lack investments and also improper implementation of the programme. However the present scheme is no different than PURA except the onus of implementation lies exclusive with the government and the scheme has earmarked funds to the tune of 5000 crores through convergence of various other similar programmes making it well funded. The pace of change and better grassroots planning makes the programme effective than the earlier PURA scheme.
The programme which aims to create smart villages runs in tandem with smart city project. The programme is considered to be the new engine of growth as it helps to exploit areas that are either untapped or unknown through creating sustainable rural infrastructure. Sectors like tourism, medical treatment etc will gain prominence once the scheme is implemented.
The scheme basically emphasises on self reliance. It will include best of practises suited for that particular area than having a one size fits for all approach. Consent of all stakeholders will be taken before implanting any provision in each cluster.
The scheme through development of rural clusters aims at catalyzing overall regional growth; it will thus simultaneously benefit the urban areas of the country as well, by achieving twin objectives of strengthening rural areas and de burdening the urban areas hence leading to a balanced regional development and growth of the country.
Click here for Spotlight/New Analysis dated 21st Feb