After committing a series of follies ever since it came to power at the Centre, the BJP government appears to have come up with a programme which, if implemented in letter and spirit, may very well take the country ahead by a leap – even though the idea has clearly been borrowed from Mahatma Gandhi’s vision and philosophy.
Launched in February 2016 and wrapped up in a fancy-sounding name, the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) – or, simply, the National Rurban Mission – is a plan aimed at developing 300 ‘rurban clusters’ across the country in the next five years.
The idea is to provide economic, social and physical infrastructure for the development of clusters of villages in order to develop them as ‘rurban areas’. Essentially, urban amenities would be introduced to these clusters of villages by converging various schemes of the government, without, however, stripping them of the essence of rural community life.
Once implemented, the mission is expected to stimulate local economic development, enhance basic services, and create well-planned rurban clusters. It is also aimed at bridging the rural-urban divide in terms of economy, technology, facilities and services. It is expected to reduce poverty and generate employment in rural areas, besides attracting investment in rural areas.
Arunachal Pradesh is currently in the process of preparing integrated cluster plans in this regard, having received grants-in-aid from the Centre for the purpose. Rural development special secretary, Nyali Ete was in East Kameng HQ Seppa on January 16, where he convened a meeting to discuss plans to develop the Richukrong-Bana area into a cluster of model villages. In Upper Siang district, there is a proposal to develop the Tuting rurban cluster.
If all goes according to plan, there may come a day when the idea of India growing from its villages finally comes to fruition. All we have to remind ourselves is whose idea it was in the first place. Surely it is not an original Hindutva brainchild. After all, it was Mahatma Gandhi who first said that the real India lies in its villages and called for developing the villages first. The genesis of the mission lies with him.
While the Congress failed miserably to turn his vision into reality, the BJP has at least taken the first step to realize it. Hopefully, the party will also give the credit of conceptualization where it is due if and when the mission is truly successful.