Vibrant Villages Programme was announced in 2022 to provide comprehensive development of border habitations close to Indo-China border. This will ensure improvement in the quality of life of the villagers living in border villages which government has already identified. People living in border areas face several hardships which were never ever resolved before.
Better road connectivity throughout the year, construction of tunnels to bypass snowbound roads, electricity, quality education, quality health care facility, Mobile/internet connectivity and several such other facilities should have been provided to all the border areas of our country, including Jammu and Kashmir, to avoid migration of the people living in these areas. Due to existence of the Vibrant Villages Programme all these problems will come to an end.
The scheme will also help to boost security of these areas facing tremendous security challenges. The scheme will eliminate the backwardness, illiteracy, and lack of basic facilities being faced by our people living in border areas of the country. As per the available data 2,967 villages of 19 districts have been identified for comprehensive development.
These villages fall in Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Himachal Pradesh. The Ladakh Union Territory which was part of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir has also been identified for this purpose. At first instance 662 villages area said to have been identified for priority coverage. About 1.42 lakh people will be benefitted in the first phase of this initiative.
Funds are allocated to the tune of Rs 4,800 crore for infrastructure development and to create livelihood avenues in the border areas. The amount of Rs 2,500 crore has been earmarked for creation of road infrastructure. The total outlay is for financial years 2022-23 to 2025-26 which will not overlap the initiative with the already existing Border Area Development Programme.
The tourism potential of these border areas is also to be explored. Tourism sector has a huge potential to change destiny of the people living in these areas. It will open job opportunity for the people. The idea of development of sustainable eco-agribusinesses on the concept of “One Village-One Product” is also one among the agenda of the programme.
Hopefully, basic requirements like drinking water, electricity, all weather roads, proper medical facilities, and internet connectivity will be provided to the people living in border areas through this scheme.
On February 15, 2023 Ministry of Home Affairs issued a press statement regarding this latest initiative stating that the aims of the scheme are to identify and develop the economic drivers based on local, natural, human and other resources of the border villages. Development of growth centres on the “Hub and Spoke Model” through promotion of social entrepreneurship, empowerment of youth and women through skill development is also one of the targets of this massive programme.
Just on 10 April 2023 Home Minister of the country launched the 'Vibrant Villages Programme village Kibithoo in Arunachal Pradesh. The village is close to the Line of Actual Control between India and China. The minister during inaugurating the scheme said that “Under this programme, the development work of villages will be done at 3 levels.
The Government of India will take care of the facilities of every person living in the villages and the benefits of various schemes will be delivered to the people. There will not be a single house in the border villages which does not have basic amenities.” The statement speaks volumes about the intentions of the government with respect to these areas. It is expected that government will leave no stone unturned to make the lives of boarder people better.
Jammu and Kashmir is also a border region but it seems that the scheme is not much visible in any village of the Union territory. However only two villages are brought under Vibrant Village program. In district Bandipore's Gurez area one village, Kanzalwan Nayil is said to have been identified and one in Chandoosa Baramulla stands selected.
Dozens of villages are situated close to line of control in district Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora. Machil, Keran, Teetwal, Tangdhar, Uri, Tulail and Gurez areas in these districts have many habitations close to the border demanding development and redressal of issues. No doubt several steps have been taken which have improved the position of such areas but lot needs to be still done.
Due to lack of facilities and existence of several problems large number of populations have migrated from this area towards towns. Vibrant Villages Programme can be the solution to the issues people face in these areas. It would be a great initiative if these areas are brought under this programme.
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The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.