NEW DELHI: Six years after it was launched with much fanfare by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ‘Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana’ aimed at developing “model villages” has been found to be ineffective in ushering in development in chosen gram panchayats, with a central performance audit urging the rural development ministry to review the scheme.
Commissioned by the RD ministry, the Common Review Mission-2019, an audit of rural schemes, has noted, “The CRM teams that visited the states did not find any significant impact of this scheme. In many of the SAGY villages, MPs did not give any significant money from MPLADS. In isolated cases, where MPs have been pro-active, some infrastructure development has taken place, but the scheme has not made any perceptible impact.”
Launched in October 2014, SAGY offers each MP to select a village in his constituency for development. The scheme has no budgetary allocation and aims to bring about convergence in government schemes to improve developmental parameters in the selected village. The goal was to develop three “model villages” by each MP by March 2019, and then five more by 2024.
But with each passing year, as reported by TOI, fewer MPs were adopting villages under SAGY. The reasons were two-fold- there was concern that picking one village would earn them the wrath of other villages in their constituencies, while the absence of budget too acted as a dampener.
However, the ministry was mindful that it was the PM’s personal initiative.
Now, the CRM audit has attested to the fact that SAGY has been a non-starter. “As such these villages cannot be called model villages. The CRM is of the opinion that in the current format, the scheme is not achieving the desired purpose. It is recommended that the ministry may review the scheme for enhancing its impact,” it has stated.
In another important red-flag, the CRM has expressed concern over the quality of roads constructed under schemes of state governments and maintenance of rural roads under central PMGSY after the end of five-year warranty period.
The audit has urged the Centre to frame a “National Rural Road Policy” to ensure uniform norms of construction and maintenance, irrespective of whether the road belongs to a state scheme or PMGSY. It has also urged the Centre to examine if the finance commission can provide funds for maintenance of rural roads, as many states have requested that the Centre should share cost of maintenance.