The Union Cabinet has approved the Centrally Sponsored Scheme- “Vibrant Villages Programme” (VVP) for the Financial Years 2022-23 to 2025-26. The scheme aims to reverse the out-migration of people from border villages. Read here to know relevant details of the VVP scheme.
The union cabinet made two major decisions recently- raising of seven new ITBP battalions and allocating ₹4,800 crores under the Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP) to stop migration and boost tourism in villages bordering China, both to bolster social and security framework along the China border.
In the first decision, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the raising of seven new battalions of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force.
In the other decision, Cabinet approved a Centrally sponsored scheme — the Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP) for the financial years 2022-23 to 2025-26 with an allocation of ₹4,800 crores for the development of villages on the northern border, thus improving the quality of life of people living in identified border villages.
Vibrant Villages Programme
It is a scheme aiming for the comprehensive development of villages of blocks on the northern border thus improving the quality of life of people living in identified border villages.
This will help encourage people to stay in their native locations in border areas and reverse the outmigration from these villages adding to improved security of the border.
The scheme will provide funds for the development of essential infrastructure and the creation of livelihood opportunities in 19 Districts and 46 Border blocks 4 states and 1 UT along the northern land border of the country.
- This will help in achieving inclusive growth and retaining the population in the border areas.
- In the first phase, 663 Villages will be taken up in the program.
The scheme aids to identify and develop the economic drivers based on local natural human and other resources of the border villages on the northern border.
It also aims for:
- development of growth centers on the “Hub and Spoke Model” through the promotion of social entrepreneurship
- empowerment of youth and women through skill development and entrepreneurship
- leveraging the tourism potential through the promotion of local cultural, and traditional knowledge and heritage
- development of sustainable eco-agribusinesses on the concept of “One Village-One product” through community-based organizations, Cooperatives, SHGs, NGOs, etc.
Vibrant Village Action Plans will be created by the district administration with the help of Gram Panchayats.
100 % saturation of Central and state schemes will be ensured.
Key outcomes that have been attempted are:
- connectivity with an all-weather road
- drinking water
- 24×7 electricity – Solar and wind energy are to be given focused attention
- mobile and internet connectivity
- Tourist centers, multi-purpose centers, and health and wellness centers.
There will not be an overlap with Border Area Development Programme.
Significance of Vibrant Village Programme
The program envisages coverage of border villages on the Northern border having sparse populations, limited connectivity, and infrastructure, which often get left out of the development gains.
The scheme will help encourage people to stay in their native locations in border areas and reverse the out-migration from these villages, adding to improved security of the border.
The scheme will provide funds for the development of essential infrastructure and the creation of livelihood opportunities.
The scheme will help to strengthen India’s cooperative sector and to deepen its reach to the grassroots as it will enable cooperative societies to set up and modernize the necessary infrastructure.
- The also aims to develop sustainable agricultural, dairy, and fishery cooperatives in each village.
- It will be supported by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), and the National Fisheries Development Board.
- The plan aims to establish viable Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) in each uncovered Panchayat
Outmigration from border villages
People of mountain areas depend on subsistence farming, livestock, and income generation from small-scale trade and wage activities for their livelihood.
The border villages of India are often neglected by the government leading to poor connectivity, underdevelopment, and difficult living conditions, causing massive out-migration.
- Uttarakhand is a case in point; the state’s border areas are seeing significant out-migration due to unfriendly living conditions, appalling infrastructure, lack of connection, and subpar health and educational services.
The army pointed out that migration along the border can have substantial national security implications.
Out-migration from border regions poses both internal and external security issues; on the one hand, it strains urban resources, and on the other, if it goes uncontrolled, it offers the hostile nation room to nibble on the territory.
India’s northeast region shares a long boundary with China, and the PLA is developing border villages at a fast pace for surveillance.
The presence of settlements near the border assists the security forces and gives the country a psychological edge. Also, it lowers the cost of surveillance because humans are the most accurate surveillance technology, guarding the whole border.
The Union government along with the addition of 9,400 personnel to guard posts along the Chinese border, approved a 4.1-km-long tunnel (Shinku-la tunnel) that will guarantee all-weather access to Ladakh and announced incentives to encourage people to stay back in remote border villages, unveiling a major push to bolster security along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.
Seven new battalions, comprising at least 9,400 personnel, will be added to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which will also be given a new sector headquarters in Arunachal Pradesh, which shares a lengthy border with China.
- ITBP guards nearly 3,488 frontiers along the India-China border across Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh
The action will aid the government in keeping a closer eye on its eastern border with China, which has claimed certain parts of Arunachal Pradesh, and in gaining speedier access to vital locations in Ladakh and Kargil during the snowy winter months.
Hence, the securing of the borders, Vibrant Villages Programme, and Border Area Development Programme are in the right direction to ensure better lives for people and border security.
-Article written by Swathi Satish