New border development scheme to focus on making model villages
The finance ministry has made additional provisions under some existing heads to start the programme that is seen as a matter of vital interest to India.
The vibrant village programme, a government scheme announced in the budget proposals to improve social and financial infrastructure in remote habitations, primarily along the border with China, will be an improved version of the existing border area development programme.
The programme will be piloted by home ministry. The finance ministry has made additional provisions under some existing heads to start the programme that is seen as a matter of vital interest to India.
The vibrant village scheme would have twin objectives of strengthening infrastructure along the border and ensuring that residents don’t abandon their villages in search of economic opportunities in other areas, two officials said on condition of anonymity.
“The programme is also developed in the backdrop of the Chinese setting up model villages along India and Bhutan borders. More than 600 such villages have been created by the Chinese,” one of the officials said.
“Border villages with sparse population, limited connectivity and infrastructure often get left out from the development gains,” finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her budget speech in Parliament on February 1. “Such villages on the northern border will be covered under the new vibrant villages programme,”
“The activities will include construction of village infrastructure, housing, tourist centres, road connectivity, provisioning of decentralized renewable energy, direct-to-home access for Doordarshan and educational channels, and support for livelihood generation,” she said.
The availability of Doordarshan and Indian educational channels is aimed to thwart any propaganda from Pakistan or China in remote areas of northern Indian states.
With an eye to finance parts of infrastructure of this border programme, the capital budget of the Border Roads Organisation have been increased by 40% in this budget.
“In the 75th Year of India’s Independence, with sustained focus on infrastructure development the Government of India in its Union Budget for FY 2022-23 has increased the capital outlay for the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), by a record 40 percent, to ₹3,500 crore as compared to ₹2,500 crore in FY 2021-22,” the government said in a statement.
“Migration from border villages not good for national security, and budget has provisions to develop vibrant villages on the border,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on February 2, underlining the new programme’s importance.
The new programme, which will be run by merging existing schemes and programmes, will also require cooperation from various ministries, especially those in the social sector, officials said.