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    February 2015

The rural renaissance 


Long before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious village development project caught the media’s attention, Punsari, a small hamlet in Gujarat’s Sabarkantha district, has shown the way how with community participation, meticulous planning, judicious use of Government  funds and an effective monitoring system in place a backward village can become the epitome of rural development. The success story of Punsari is a perfect case study for the bureaucracy to learn lessons of effective rural governance.  Such is the enigma of Punsari’s success that it fuelled Modi’s dream of an “ideal village”. On hearing its remarkable story, Modi visited the hamlet and now it finds mention whenever he talks about model villages. It is heartening to witness that Modi’s ambitious Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana has brought villages to the forefront. The PM’s vision of building the nation from villages is a right step towards creating a strong foundation for a new India. The step is a giant leap towards transforming the face of rural India. The move will also make the people’s representatives “directly accountable” for the progress of the nation. However, at the same time it is unfortunate that it took over six decades and a strong leadership to make political and administrative machinery sit up and take a serious note of the rural development issue. To witness the rural revolution that has redefined the meaning of Indian villages, Bureaucracy Today travels to the heartland of Punsari and digs out an inspiring tale of rural renaissance. Our Cover Story is a reflection of how people’s determination for a better living coupled with proper and judicious use of Government funds can make a big difference. It is also a tale of how the success story of a single village can change the mindset of people and generate a wave of development not only in the surrounding areas but also in places located miles away. No doubt successive Governments both in States and at the Centre over the years have doled out several schemes and projects for the development of rural areas but it is the harsh reality that due to the absence of a proper monitoring and accountability system in place, the benefits of the measures did not percolate to the majority of the people for which they were meant.  Punsari has succeeded where administrative machinery has failed. It has shown how common people can transform the face of rural India and shape their own destiny. We hope our Cover Story will inspire the bureaucracy to properly monitor and execute Government schemes and become an agent of sustainable rural development. At the same time, we also hope that the corporate world takes notice of the transformation taking place at the grassroots level and expands its horizon in the new rural India.

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