The backwardness of a village and not the volume of its scheduled caste population will now be the sole criteria for its development under the Dr Ambedar Rural Development Scheme, which will also be re-launched with a new name.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) government has decided to rechristen the Dr Ambedlkar Gramin Vikas Yojana (Dr Ambedkar Rural Development Scheme), the Mayawati government's pet project, as the Samagra Gramin Vikas Yojana (Integrated Rural Development Scheme). However, the developmental facilities will continue to be the same, with little or no changes.
But what is more important is that the government is going to change the criteria for selection to develop villages under the scheme in its new incarnation. Unlike at present, when a village is selected for the scheme on the basis of the volume of its SC population, the government will now take backwardness and infrastructure of a village to harness it with various facilities under the scheme.
"Instead of the SC population, the backwardness and infrastructure of a village will be the criteria for its selection for the Integrated Rural Development Scheme which will be run on the lines of the Dr Ambedkar Rural Development Scheme," agriculture production commissioner (APC), Alok Ranjan told the Hindustan Times. He also held a meeting with the officials of the concerning departments to discuss the modalities for implementation of the scheme in the new Avatar. He said the work to select the eligible villages for the new scheme would begin and target fixed for departments soon.
The Dr Ambedkar Rural Development Department (there is no proposal to change the name of the department, as yet) has already sent a proposal to the Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC) with regard to change of the name of the scheme and change of the selection criteria.
The scheme so far sought to develop villages with more SC population, in a phased manner by creating basic infrastructure and providing basic amenities for villagers. Among the dozen facilities concerning departments were supposed to provide include important programme such as drinking water facilities, construction of link roads, rural electrification, construction of drains and CC road inside the villages, housing schemes for villagers having no houses, allotment of agricultural land for villagers having no agricultural land, allotment of land for construction of houses for villagers having no land for house construction.
Sources said that the development parameters or facilities would, however, more or less remain the same and what would change was the name of the scheme and the selection criteria.
The Dr Ambedkar Rural Development Scheme was initially launched in 1991 under the Rural Development Department and latter a separate wing the Dr Ambedkar Rural Development by name was created in 1995, for the executing of the scheme. The scheme always got into focus whenever the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) came to power, for the obvious reason.
However, the scheme was often condemned on the ground that sought to develop only villages with the SC population leaving other equally backward villages outside the benefits. "Even within Ambedkar villages, focus of development was more on the localities with SC population," said an official in the rural development department.