Migration Narratives: The SHRAM Blog

Lets Plan for Smart Indian Villages

Would it be more pertinent to work towards making every habitation smart rather than focusing only on 100 smart cities? Instead of harping on smart cities how about smart villages? Let us start with the 4862 villages with over 10,000 residents. Let us make these smart villages thereby covering 8.6 percent of India’s rural population. In the next phase, let us focus on villages with a population between 5000 and 9999 in the vicinity of the cities. Overtime, this would cover an additional 13.2 percent of the rural population. This strategy makes sense since a majority of large villages and those close to the towns will become urban.

Initiatives to make these villages smart from a perspective of governance and service delivery can be brought in within the ambit of the e-panchayat project of the Ministry of Rural Development. This project addresses all aspects of the functioning of the panchayat including planning, monitoring, implementation, budgeting, accounting, social audit and delivery of citizen services like issue of certificates, licenses etc. The e-panchayat project should be used with the objective of planning for smart urbanization. The central government has sought to use advances in ICT to develop models of m-health and e-learning. These initiatives should be developed with a focus on villages.

What we are arguing for is to make every rural habitation and potentially a future town smarter. This approach can be thought of as bottom up planning for future urbanization, a preemptive strategy aimed at planning for growth rather than a reactive strategy in the face of urban sprawl. Read more in Special Issue of Yojana

S Chandrasekhar

S Chandrasekhar

Associate Professor
Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai
S Chandrasekhar
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