To take India in the direction of developed countries, there is a need to uplift the economic condition and improve the living standards of the rural population. Improving lives in the villages and providing them with apt livelihood opportunities and urban amenities could possibly be an answer to making India truly “Aatmanirbhar”. Model Gaon, a rural development initiative, a brainchild of Dr Heera Lal, Additional Mission Director, National Health Mission, Uttar Pradesh, is trying to realise the vision of our former President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam for Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), writes Adarsh Som of Elets News Network (ENN).
Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA) is a framework which was envisioned by the former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in order to bridge the urban-rural divide by providing the rural population with livelihood opportunities and urban amenities to improve their quality of life. The PURA framework has been devised as an empowerment-based model to achieve sustainability by providing villages with the necessary Physical, Electronic, Knowledge and Economic Connectivity. These are the four key aspects of the PURA framework.
The four key factors focus on holistic and accelerated development of compact areas around a potential growth centre in a Gram Panchayat or a group of Gram Panchayats through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model and providing employment opportunities and urban amenities to enrich living standards in rural areas. This approach might play a crucial role in leading India to self-reliance, which is the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And, Model Gaon is one such initiative working to uplift the rural sect of the country holistically.
Dr Heera Lal said, “Under this initiative, we’ve made people of villages responsible for their own growth and development. And in a great response, people have started volunteering for contributing to various developmental works to make their ‘gaon’ a ‘model gaon’… With this initiative in place, one of the core aim is to bring in a behavioural change among people. For this, we make them aware, sensitise them on simple solutions, and ask them for their cooperation with the government to induce corrective measures.”
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The Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi also propagated the teachings of Swaraj, self-rule. However, he pointed out that India lives in its villages, and development of villages will be critical if we want to close the gap between the “haves and have not’s” for better human development.
According to Gandhi Ji, an ideal village should have complete sanitation facilities, cottages with apt ventilation and lighting built out of materials available within the radius of five miles. The village streets and lanes should be free of all avoidable dust. It will have wells according to its needs and accessible to all. It will have houses of worship for all, also a common meeting place, common grazing grounds for cattle, a co-operative dairy, primary and secondary schools in which industrial education will be the central fact, and it will have Panchayats for settling disputes. It will produce its own grains, vegetables and fruits, and its own Khadi.
Considering that, there is significant inequity in terms of sanitation and cleanliness in villages and urban areas. However, the Government of India’s flagship programme – Swachh Bharat Mission has done wonders in bridging the gap in sanitation facilities in the cities and the countryside areas. Also, it is clear that Gandhi Ji’s model of an ideal village has self-reliance at its core.
Therefore, with an ambitious programme like Model Gaon, we expect to see the rural areas of the country rise up to Gandhi Ji’s idea of an ideal village, translated as per the present era, and enrich millions of lives residing in the heart of our nation, the villages.