ENVIS Technical Report: 90,  April 2015
1Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, 2Centre for Sustainable Technologies (astra)
3 Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning [CiSTUP], Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka, 560 012, India
Web: http://ces.iisc.ernet.in/energy E Mail: cestvr@ces.iisc.ernet.in; ganesh@ces.iisc.ernet.in Tel: 91-080-22933099, 2293 3503 extn 101, 107, 114
4Adamya Chetana, Annapoorna - Bangalore, Community Hall, Kempegowda Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560019 Tel: 080 2662 0404, E Mail: tejaswini.acf@gmail.com
5 R K Mission, Shivanahalli, Anekal, Bangalore, E Mail: vishnumayananda@gmail.com

*Corresponding author: cestvr@ces.iisc.ernet.in

The dream of India as developed nation is possible only with self-sufficient and self-reliant villages. This can be achieved only with decentralised models of development empowering local youth while capitalising through sustainable management of natural resources – land, water, energy and human resource. Sixty eight percent of Indian population resides in rural area and agriculture is the prime agent of rural economy. India ranks second worldwide in agriculture products. Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and fishing employs more than 50% of the total workforce and  accounts to 18% of the GDP. Though the contribution by farm sector has been significant, government’s push to other sectors has led to stagnation by agriculture sector.   

India is a country of villages, where the development of the nation significantly depends on the progress of villages. Village is a smallest administrative unit in India  and were formed for effective decentralised governance. The evidences of these decentralised governing bodies are found even in Vedic era which were known as ‘Sabha’ and flourished with all modern facilities during Indus Valley Civilisation. However, Gram Panchayat representing a cluster of villages with similar socio-economic and geographical characteristics were formed in 1958 (article of Indian constitution). The Panchayath act came into effect in 1994, on the basis of 73rd and 74th amendments of the constitution for local self governance with decentralised power and responsibilities. This provided constitutional mandate to restructure and revamp local bodies with constitutional obligations and sufficient powers and functions as per Schedule XI of the act. The local self-government through gram sabhas play a vital role in the formulation of policy and its implementation at grass root levels. 

Many village developmental activities and plans were formulated in order to mitigate poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, malnutrition in kids, health problems and also to provide basic needs of livelihood. However, due to lack of implementation, many villages are still deprived of drinking water, sanitation facilities, primary health centres, equipped primary schools, electricity, proper road and public transportation systems, banks and communication services. Recent ambitious initiative SAGY by Govt. of India to make one “Model Village” (Adarsh Gram) every year from each MP’s constituency. The guidelines emphasise on self-reliant and self-sustainable villages to realise Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of Swaraj.

SMART (Self sufficient and  Self Reliant village with empowerment of Manpower (rural youth) through locally available natural resources and Appropriate Rural Technologies) ensures self-sufficient and self-reliant village by optimising natural resources and local youth power through appropriate rural technologies. This concept is proposed for Ragihalli panchayat, Anekal taluk of Bengaluru Urban district, essentially empowers the man power through enhanced job opportunities (cluster approaches in development – industries, distributed energy system through micro grid, rejuvenation of soil and water bodies through micro watershed programmes, medicinal plants arboretum, sericulture, horticulture, livestock sector). This also boosts economic status through improved productivities in agriculture, sericulture, horticulture and livestock sectors.
Resource assessment and understanding of village dynamics would aid in assessing the needs of local people. Rejuvenation of soil and water resources through micro-watershed management, planting of native species of trees and medicinal plants, interventions in dairy sector (removal of middle men with automation – quantity of milk  as well as payment directly to respective farmer’s bank accounts) needs to be implemented on highest priority. This helps in solving multi-pronged water scarcity problem while elevating the income. Community hot water supply, vocational training (on cattle dairy farming, fodder and agriculture cropping) and skill development needs to be initiated to generate employment, educate villagers and strengthen dairy farming. The initiatives based on cluster approach involving community solar PV micro grid, community biogas generation, agro processing, food processing, organic manure production, medicinal plant growing and herb extraction needs to be introduced through community involvement (participatory approach) would promote decentralised industrial and entrepreneurship activities. The region to be equipped with amenities such as primary health facilities, schools, sanitation, provision of hot water  and treated drinking water.

SMART Village framework essentially institutionalise sustainability and self-reliance by utilising local resources (natural and human) through appropriate rural technologies. It also promotes decentralised governance and employment generation with the help regional governmental and non-governmental organisations. The framework can be adopted and replicated in all Indian villages to sustain natural resources while improving water availability, cropping pattern, livestock management and local employment prospects. 

Keywords: SMART village, Adarsh Grama, Swaraj, Sustainable development, make Indians



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