Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a rural development scheme under which each member of parliament will adopt three villages by 2019 to improve the standard of living and quality of life of millions of people in the countryside.
The government hopes the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY) will have a cascade effect on surrounding villages and lift physical and institutional infrastructure across rural India, where basic facilities are often patchy.
“We are nearly 800 MPs. If before 2019 we develop three villages each, we reach nearly 2,500 villages. If in the light of this scheme, the states also create a similar scheme for MLAs, then 6,000-7,000 more villages can be added,” Modi told MPs.
Under the programme, each MP will take responsibility for three villages and turn them into a “model village” by 2019 through the convergence of different government schemes and their effective implementation.
Watch: Modi to adopt a village in Varanasi, urges MPs to follow suit
Modi asked parliamentarians to act as a catalyst for development in villages, saying the programme will help them identify bottlenecks and enable them to iron out these bottlenecks.
“Whether you get votes from the village or not whether the village community supports you or not, you will have to work for the village and its community and act as a facilitator, as a catalyst for its change,” he said.
The scheme was launched on the birth anniversary of socialist icon Jai Prakash Narayan, just days after the government kicked off its Clean India campaign on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.
Quoting Jayaprakash Narayan, Modi said while politics and democracy cannot be separated, the new scheme will open the door for constructive politics in the country.
Modi said it was not a money-driven scheme but aimed at the overall development of rural India.
“The talk about bottom-to-top and top-to-bottom will continue in the academic world,” he said. “We want to work. We want to see whether we can bring change through public participation.
I am not claiming that I will change the situation all of a sudden … This scheme is not the ultimate. Changes and improvement will come with the passage of time.”