Bemused by the disinterest of members of Parliament, the Panchayat department of Madhya Pradesh has contemplated to transform it’s rural landscape into smart village. Recent allocation from Centre has encouraged the officials to take on this project without any delay, courtesy the fourteenth finance commission.
With this, the smart village concept would surpass the much hyped smart city project, which has many takers compare to those interested in rural development. "In fact this would be smart village, smart panchayat initiative which would incorporate very basic criterion of development like infrastructure, technology, health and education," informed Raghuvir Shrivastava, commissioner, panchayat raj.
Deliberating on availability of funds, he said, allocation by fourteenth finance commission will substantiate the basic need to kick off the project. In five years Rs 1200 crore will be released, of which Rs 731 crore have already reached as first installment, he informed.
For 23,007 gram panchayats awaiting a facelift, parameters likely to be focussed are RCC (reinforced cement concrete) roads, e-Panchayat infrastructure for wifi and internet connectivity, toilet in each house, a school, an anganwadi, a primary health centre and a bank. Such panchayats will score maximum to claim the status of smart village, said officials.
"We have provided single room facility at a cost of Rs 10 lakh to some panchayats for banking and business facility. There would be a mobile banking facility in small villages where transactions would be done twice or thrice a week", said Shrivastava.
Also, each villager will have its own account to receive funds through real-time gross settlement systems (RTGS), a specialist funds transfer systems where transfer of money or securities takes place from one bank to another on a "real time" and on "gross" basis, he added.
Of the total 23,006 gram panchayats, those with a population of 2000 or less receive funds with annual increment of Rs 87.17 crore in accordance with the tenth finance recommendations for the last four years. The twelfth finance commission has an allocation of Rs 1,663 crore for five years while the thirteenth finance commission had sanctioned an amount of Rs 4,305.69 crore.
With growing urban population a big concern, as nearly 27 per cent people live in urban areas, smart village concept could put a check by implementing social, methodical, adaptive, responsive and techno-savvy programmes, observed a senior official.