The Impractical Aspects of SAGY

The many changes introduced by the Modi government have been restrictive in nature. The government has reduced the legal and financial framework of MDNREGA; have undermined  many provisions of land acquisition act, also made budgetary cuts in almost every social sector programme. All these led to a squeeze of Rs.15,000 Crores from the rural development. The only rural development scheme which has been launched has been the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana which also comes laden with many drawbacks.

  • The SAGY scheme calls for MPs to pick any village from their constituency which should be different from their own ancestral village and from that of their spouses. The MPs have to bring together all government schemes and programme spanning all sectors and give shape to a model village. It will also involve imparting knowledge to citizens of the village for them to become truly model citizens.
  • The scheme is however flawed fundamentally as it will only support a very few villages (i.e. 800 in 1 year and 2400 in 5 years). Thus, clearly the remaining 600,000 villages will be clearly and officially left out from the developmental incentives.
  • The concerned village panchayat will be kept under overstated scrutiny and all the district bureaucracy will be forced to give uncalled-for attention to the village. The result will be a sure success but limited to boundaries of one village in the whole constituency. It is quite possible the village becomes a cause of envy for the surrounding villages instead of a role model.
  • The provision of choice of one village not based on any defined criteria is a challenge to the principle of equitable development and democracy at large. It comes to threaten the basis of representation in electoral politics. Thus, success may breed alienation between villages.
  • The scheme also seems to reduce the mandate of the MP or the DC to that of a gram sevak or a sarpanch. The duty of every MP is to distribute the funds equally among its constituency and strive to make every village an adarsh gram which will give rise to an adarsh constituency. Replication of model of one village is difficult to implement in the neighbouring villages too as the development of Punsari in Gujarat, Gangadevipally in Andhra Pradesh, Hivre Bazaar in Maharashtra etc. was not replicated even in the neighbouring panchayats. Indian developmental programs are usually left out due to lack of funds. Many important aspects are kept at the backside to make adarsh gram a big success.
  • The choice of village for development is an intriguing factor as there are minimal restrictions on the MPs to do so. This privilege of choice can be misused to pick their favourites and sideline communities and voices which are expendable.

Thus, SAGY is highly impractical scheme which will divert the government from facing the real bottlenecks of development and democratic governance.