Emerging Model Villages In India: A Study Of Punsari Village From The State Of Gujarat

Dr. Sanhita Joshi

Although India no more lives in its villages, the rural population is sizeably large and more importantly it reels under the pressure of extreme poverty, pitiable basic amenities and dearth of livelihood opportunities. Today, Urbanisation and urban growth has captured the attention of government and policy makers in the post liberalisation period. However, much needs to be done to improve the conditions of the people living in the rural areas. The strengthening of village democracy was considered as a possible solution to resolving issues at the grassroots level. This paved way for the historic 73rd constitutional amendment act in 1993 which sought to empower people at the base of our federal polity. Encouraging people’s participation in the process of development, policy, making and its implementation was the fundamental objective of this legislation. Twenty five years have passed by since the promulgation of 73rd and 74th CAA in 1993. Nonetheless, much needs to be done and achieved. There is an urgent need to transform the rural landscape of India and bring them at part with its urban counterparts while retaining the soul of the rural life. The case of village Punsari from the Sabharkantha District of state of Gujarat (INDIA) is unique as it stands out as a smart and model village. All the modern amenities found in an urban area available in this area. The paper aims to argue using descriptive analytical framework that such smart villages can be very well replicated across the length and breadth of India. Semi structured interviews of the local leaders, officers and stakeholders will form an important part of the research to generate insights and conclusions. The paper argues that grassroots leadership, community participation, decentralization of powers to local bodies in rural areas and financial support in the form of various government schemes can bring far reaching changes in rural landscape of India. Punsari represents a classic example as well as an exemplar of concerted efforts of elected leaders, community people and government support to bring transformation and make villages smart as well as sustainable.