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Vibrant Village Programme: Adding Exuberance To India’s Integrity – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute

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Borders are the synonyms of sovereignty and ensure the country's dignity by establishing its powers and control within its territories, as a result, it becomes essential to develop border infrastructure for better movement and defense of the country. For infrastructure upliftment, the Government of India has undertaken an initiative “ Vibrant Village Programme” (VVP) for the development and empowerment of villages near India’s international borders with Nepal and China.

Bhanvi

Introduction

Borders are the synonyms of sovereignty and ensure the country’s dignity by establishing its powers and control within its territories, as a result, it becomes essential to develop border infrastructure for better movement and defense of the country. For infrastructure upliftment, the Government of India has undertaken an initiative “ Vibrant Village Programme” (VVP) for the development and empowerment of villages near India’s international borders with Nepal and China.

According to parliamentary data, VVP was adopted on 15th February 2023 for the comprehensive development of villages of 46 blocks abutting the northern border in 19 districts of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and UT of Ladakh. Under VVP, 662 villages in these States and UT of Ladakh have been identified for comprehensive development on priority, out of which 455 villages of 28 blocks abutting the northern border in 11 districts of Arunachal Pradesh are included. The pilot project was launched in the Kibithoo village, Anjaw district, of Arunachal Pradesh.  

The “Vibrant Village” program is a flagship initiative of the Government of India, that is 100% Centrally Sponsored to improve the living standards of village communities near border areas, make them self-sustainable, with a focus on community-based development along with assurance that every village has basic healthcare, education, sanitation, technological advancements, skill development, and a clean water system.

Objectives

VVP is a centrally sponsored scheme launched with an outlay of Rs 4,800 crore, with the objective of the development of border areas in northeastern states focusing on road infrastructure, hospitals, sanitation, electricity, mobile and internet connectivity, tourist centers, etc. VVP is based on a hub and spoke model that will promote social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, one village one product model highlighting local culture, traditional knowledge, and heritage that will ensure inclusiveness and integrity of the local community.VVP was launched from the easternmost border village Kibithoo which promotes India’s last village as the country’s first village, and India’s Act East Policy also promotes the overall development of the north-eastern region.

 Border Villages in India: Indispensable Component of Strategic Development

  • Economic Growth- With the impetus of Rs 4800 cr., it will ensure the economic development of neglected components of India’s major development. i.e northeastern areas as development in infrastructure will generate jobs for locals that will reduce poverty and will increase their standard of living. Moreover, it will reduce inter-migration between border states the focus will be on ‘Aatmanirbhar Arthvyavastha’.
  • Enhance Border Security- During the implementation of the Border Area Development Programme (BADP), in 2018 border security was considered an essential element that will be taken care of in VVP as border areas have challenges of difficult terrain and sparse population.
  • Cultural Development- Be it global or national level, India never fades away from representing its cultural richness recently India promoted its rich cultural heritage at G20by gifting various cultural mementos to dignitaries, art, dance, and music also promoting culture and strengthening people to people ties so VVP can give impetus to cultural connect among people that will in return strengthen intra ties within India.

          To support this Government of India (GOI) has recently launched the PRASAD      (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive) scheme depicting India’s commitment to safeguarding India’s ancient civilizational heritage and culture.

  • Enhanced surveillance- Populating border villages and enhancing border infrastructure will enhance the surveillance capabilities of the Indian Army. By populating border villages, the Indian Army can garner intelligence about the enemy’s troop and weaponry movements. Moreover, it would facilitate the establishment of a closer relationship between the Indian Army and local communities, ensuring cooperation in the event of an attack.

Impact

  • VVP focuses on enhancing border tourism as a a major part of the outlay is being utilized for road development that will enhance connectivity and in return boost the tourism industry will indirectly increase employment opportunities and the the GDP of border states.
  • VVP ensures the transformation of India’s border villages in a positive sense that will secure the country’s sovereignty and provide a protective boundary for future insurgency.
  • The world has been shrunk to a global village in this fast-moving pace of rapid advancements specifically in communication sectors, AI, etc so to join the bandwagon government of India has given contracts for optical fibres in all villages, including remote areas, that will be granted under the Bharatnet Project through PPP and completion is expected by 2025.
  • The development of border villages can act as groundwork for the future towns and cities in the bordering regions that will function as military checkposts for future insurgencies as local people are well aware of the geographical terrain and loopholes of the area.
  • VVP will also enhance trade activities from the northeastern region and northeastern borders will function as checkpoints for exchange of trade and commerce that promotes the nation’s economic resilience and competitiveness and preserve cultural diversity.

Challenges

According to a report by the US Department of Defence, it has been concluded that Military and Security Developments are being taken in border areas describing China’s incremental and tactical actions to press its claims at the LAC that will dampen India’s stand of sovereignty and needs to be solved with the support of soft power and back-channel diplomacy.

Moreover, with rapid advancement, sustainable development also becomes a major issue as the North Eastern region is known for magnificent natural attraction sites, resource richness, good weather, etc so the government should ensure that development should take place within the carrying capacity of the region by adopting environmental impact and sustainable studies. For proper implementation of the development projects transparency issue also comes into the picture that can be tackled with the promotion of “ Vibrant Gram Sabha” which will minutely track the progress of selected villages via regular assessment meetings.

Conclusion

India is under the influence of becoming a developed nation the in next few years and is it essential to have ve stable neighborhood as any insurgency from the neighbors can hamper India’s path to development. Embellishing this major hurdle VVP can prove to game-changer as it focuses the on development of Arunachal’s villages along the Line of Actual Control to counter the Chinese territorial claims. As it is often said development is the key to strengthening ties and promoting change in any field so development in northern areas will eradicate the feelings of being “ left out” among the northeastern region and ensure inclusive growth fulfilling the motto of “ Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”.

 Moreover with the implementation of VVP in northern areas extremism has been reduced significantly, incidents of reverse migration have increased, GDP is showing a positive trend, cultural integrity is increasing resulting in depletion poverty (SDG1) and people have access ic necessities. Despite all these there is a stringent need to monitor the development a on regular basis and awareness regarding the same should be spread so the neighboring countries should get to know about India’s strengths.

References

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Vibrant Villages Programme a befitting reply to China’s Arunachal psy-ops. (2023, April 17). https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/vibrant-villages-programme-a-befitting-reply-to-chinas-arunachal-psy-ops/99544915

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https://www.mha.gov.in/MHA1/Par2017/pdfs/par2023-pdfs/RS29032023/3251.pdf

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https://newsonair.gov.in/News?title=Home-Minister-Amit-Shah-launches-%E2%80%98Vibrant-Villages-Programme%E2%80%99-in-Kibithoo-of-Arunachal-Pradesh&id=459059L.

(2023, March 14). Govt approves ‘vibrant villages programme’ for comprehensive development of border villages | Mint.  https://www.livemint.com/news/india/govt-approves-vibrant-villages-programme-for-comprehensive-development-of-border-villages-11678800440323.html

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Singha, A. (2023, February 15). India greenlights Rs 4,800 crore “Vibrant Villages Programme” to boost rural development. https://www.cnbctv18.com/economy/india-greenlights-rs-4800-crore-vibrant-villages-programme-to-boost-rural-development-15945831.htm

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Acknowledgment: The author would like to thank Chaitanya for his kind comments and suggestions to improve the article.  

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