Posted by CMV360 Editorial Staff on 03-Mar-2023 05:26 AM
The Union Cabinet recently approved two major decisions aimed at improving the social and security framework along the China border. The first decision involved the raising of seven new battalions of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force, approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
The second decision approved a Centrally Sponsored Scheme called the "Vibrant Villages Programme" (VVP) for the Financial Years 2022-23 to 2025-26. This scheme aims to boost tourism and reverse the out-migration of people from border villages by improving the quality of life in these areas. The government has allocated ₹4,800 crores for the development of villages on the northern border.
The VVP scheme is designed to address the challenges faced by villages bordering China, including improving infrastructure, creating employment opportunities, and promoting tourism. The objective is to reverse the trend of people leaving these areas and encourage them to stay by providing them with basic amenities and better livelihood opportunities.
Overall, the VVP scheme seeks to create "vibrant" villages that are economically self-sufficient and have a thriving community. By investing in the development of these border villages, the government hopes to strengthen India's social and security framework along the China border.
The Vibrant Villages Programme has a multi-faceted approach to promote the comprehensive development of villages along the northern border of India. In addition to providing essential infrastructure and creating livelihood opportunities, the scheme aims to achieve inclusive growth by implementing the following measures:
Development of growth centers on the “Hub and Spoke Model” through the promotion of social entrepreneurship: Under this initiative, growth centers will be established in strategic locations, acting as hubs for economic activity, while the surrounding villages act as spokes. This model will encourage social entrepreneurship and help in developing economic drivers in the region.
Empowerment of youth and women through skill development and entrepreneurship: The scheme will also focus on empowering the youth and women in the identified border villages by providing them with training and skill development programs. This will help them become self-reliant and promote entrepreneurship, which will lead to the creation of more jobs and opportunities.
Leveraging the tourism potential through the promotion of local cultural, and traditional knowledge and heritage: The northern border region of India has immense potential for tourism, given its rich cultural and traditional heritage. The scheme will help in promoting this potential by encouraging the development of tourism-related infrastructure and activities in the region.
Development of sustainable eco-agribusinesses on the concept of “One Village-One product” through community-based organizations, Cooperatives, SHGs, NGOs, etc.: The scheme will encourage the development of sustainable eco-agribusinesses, based on the concept of “One Village-One product”. This initiative will help in promoting agricultural activities in the region, which will lead to better incomes for the farmers, and help in achieving sustainable development.
Vibrant Village Action Plans will be created by the district administration with the help of Gram Panchayats: The Vibrant Village Action Plans will be created by the district administration in consultation with the Gram Panchayats. This will help in ensuring that the development work is tailored to the specific needs and requirements of the villages in the region.
100 % saturation of Central and state schemes will be ensured: The scheme aims to ensure that all eligible beneficiaries in the identified border villages are covered under the various Central and state schemes. This will help in ensuring that the benefits of the schemes reach the targeted population, and lead to an overall improvement in their quality of life.
Connectivity: The scheme aims to provide connectivity to the identified border villages by constructing all-weather roads. The roads will improve accessibility and mobility for the people living in these areas.
Drinking water: The scheme recognizes the importance of safe and clean drinking water for the well-being of the people. Hence, it aims to ensure that all the identified border villages have access to a reliable source of drinking water.
24x7 electricity: The scheme aims to provide electricity to the identified border villages on a 24x7 basis. The government will focus on promoting the use of solar and wind energy to ensure a sustainable and reliable source of electricity.
Mobile and internet connectivity: The scheme recognizes the importance of digital connectivity in the modern world. Hence, it aims to provide mobile and internet connectivity to the identified border villages, enabling them to stay connected with the rest of the world.
Tourist centers, multi-purpose centers, and health and wellness centers: The scheme aims to promote tourism in the identified border villages by creating tourist centers. The scheme also recognizes the importance of community health and wellness, and hence, it aims to create multi-purpose centers and health and wellness centers.
No overlap with Border Area Development Programme: The scheme ensures that there is no overlap with the Border Area Development Programme, which is already in place. This will help in ensuring the efficient utilization of resources and avoiding duplication of efforts.
The Vibrant Village Programme holds significant importance as it aims to cover border villages located on the Northern border of India. These areas typically have sparse populations and limited connectivity and infrastructure, leading to the exclusion of these regions from development gains.
The primary objective of the scheme is to encourage people to stay in their native locations in border areas and reverse the out-migration from these villages, ultimately improving the security of the border. The programme will provide funds for the development of essential infrastructure and the creation of livelihood opportunities.
The Vibrant Village Programme also intends to strengthen India's cooperative sector by deepening its reach to the grassroots, allowing cooperative societies to establish and modernize the necessary infrastructure. It aims to develop sustainable agricultural, dairy, and fishery cooperatives in each village with support from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), and National Fisheries Development Board.
Moreover, the programme aims to establish viable Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) in each uncovered Panchayat, which will further strengthen the rural credit structure. This will enable better access to credit for farmers and promote sustainable agricultural practices, leading to inclusive growth and development of the region.
The outmigration from border villages has become a significant issue in India, especially in mountain areas where the people rely on subsistence farming, livestock, small-scale trade, and wage activities for their livelihoods. However, due to inadequate infrastructure, poor connectivity, and difficult living conditions, border villages often get neglected by the government, which leads to massive out-migration.
The state of Uttarakhand is a prime example of this issue, where border areas are experiencing significant out-migration due to unfavourable living conditions, inadequate infrastructure, lack of connectivity, and substandard health and educational services. The army has pointed out that such migration along the border can have severe national security implications.
Out-migration from border regions not only strains urban resources but also poses internal and external security challenges. On the one hand, it increases the burden on urban resources and on the other, uncontrolled out-migration offers hostile nations an opportunity to encroach on the territory.
Moreover, India's northeast region shares a long boundary with China, and the PLA is developing border villages at a rapid pace for surveillance. Settlements near the border help the security forces and provide the country with a psychological edge. Additionally, human surveillance technology is more accurate than any other surveillance technology, which makes it easier and cheaper to monitor the border.
Therefore, the Vibrant Village Programme aims to address the issues faced by border villages and encourage people to stay in their native locations by providing them with better infrastructure, connectivity, and livelihood opportunities. The programme aims to improve the quality of life in border villages, ultimately contributing to improved national security.
To secure the borders along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, the Union government has taken several initiatives, including adding 9,400 personnel to guard posts and approving the construction of a 4.1-km-long tunnel (Shinku-la tunnel) that will ensure all-weather access to Ladakh. Additionally, the government has announced incentives to encourage people to stay back in remote border villages, signaling a major push to bolster security.
As part of these initiatives, 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, a region that shares a lengthy border with China. The ITBP already guards nearly 3,488 frontiers along the India-China border across Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.
These actions will help the government keep a closer eye on the eastern border with China, which has claimed certain parts of Arunachal Pradesh, and gain speedier access to vital locations in Ladakh and Kargil during the snowy winter months.
In addition to securing the borders, the government has also launched the Vibrant Villages Programme and Border Area Development Programme, which aim to improve the lives of people living in remote border villages by providing essential infrastructure, creating livelihood opportunities, and developing sustainable agricultural, dairy, and fishery cooperatives in each village. By taking these steps, the government is moving in the right direction to ensure better lives for people living in remote border villages while also improving border security.
Q1: What is the Vibrant Villages Programme?
Ans: The Vibrant Villages Programme is a scheme launched by the Indian government aimed at the comprehensive development of villages located in border blocks on the northern border. The scheme aims to improve the quality of life of people living in identified border villages, provide funds for the development of essential infrastructure, and create livelihood opportunities.
Q2: What are the key outcomes of the Vibrant Villages Programme?
Ans: The key outcomes of the Vibrant Villages Programme include connectivity with all-weather roads, drinking water, 24x7 electricity, mobile and internet connectivity, and the development of tourist centers, multi-purpose centers, and health and wellness centers.
Q3: How will the Vibrant Villages Programme be implemented?
Ans: The Vibrant Villages Programme will be implemented through the creation of Vibrant Village Action Plans by the district administration with the help of Gram Panchayats. The scheme will also be supported by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), and the National Fisheries Development Board.
Q4: What is the significance of the Vibrant Villages Programme?
Ans: The Vibrant Villages Programme aims to develop sustainable agricultural, dairy, and fishery cooperatives in each village and strengthen India’s cooperative sector. The scheme also aims to deepen the reach of cooperatives to the grassroots and enable them to set up and modernize the necessary infrastructure. Additionally, the scheme will help to encourage people to stay in their native locations in border areas, reversing the out-migration from these villages and improving the security of the border.
Q5: How does out-migration from border villages affect national security?
Ans: 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. 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.
Q6: What measures has the Indian government taken to improve border security?
Ans: The Indian government has taken several measures to improve border security, including the addition of 9,400 personnel to guard posts along the Chinese border, the approval of a 4.1-km-long tunnel (Shinku-la tunnel) that will guarantee all-weather access to Ladakh, and incentives to encourage people to stay back in remote border villages. Additionally, 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.
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