NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, or the village adoption scheme, is facing an “existential” crisis in its second year with not even his colleagues willing to adopt villages. The key reasons are lack of special funds and discrimination associated with choosing one village.
The objective of the scheme, launched in September 2014, was that MPs would adopt one village each year and develop it as an ideal village by 2019. While a Lok Sabha member could choose a village in their constituencies, their Rajya Sabha counterparts were to pick any village in the State they represent.
In the second year, MPs were to submit the name of their village to the Rural Development Ministry by the end of 2015. But only 33 from the Lower House and seven from the Upper House have expressed willingness to participate in the scheme. Worse, of 66 ministers, not even 10 have expressed interest in the second phase. Significantly, of the 40 MPs who adopted villages, 37 are from the NDA.
This has prompted the Ministry officials to request Modi to ask “at least the BJP MPs” to adopt villages. “We told him that we had tried several routes to attract the MPs. We also told him that if at least BJP MPs take some interest in the scheme, then it will survive,’’ said an official.
If sources are to be believed, the PM has taken this advice seriously. The BJP party machinery, with the RSS, has decided to take an active role in the scheme. All was well in the first phase. Of the 543 members in the Lok Sabha, 499 had adopted one village and of the 252 members in the Rajya Sabha, 199 had gone for adoption. But MPs apparently realised the “trap”. “There is no special fund for this. From where will we get money? I really struggled to get a few things done,’’ a BJP MP who was part of the first phase told Express. Another BJP MP, who is a national figure, had a similar story. Calling himself a “victim of hype created by the government’’, he said. “I somehow got sponsors and NGOs to build a school and toilets in the village I adopted. But all MPs need not be lucky like me,’’ he said. This is a grouse among MPs across the spectrum. But they insist MPs need not go after sponsors if they are willing to conceive projects according to government-sponsored schemes and converge all the funds.