By: Mr Vasan Srinivasan
Chair of CIAA
Member – Australian Multicultural Council
The Government of India has always been interested in inviting NRI and PIO business minded individuals, with capital, to invest in India, aiding to improve the economy of their home country. For the first time, the Modi Government has invited the Aam Aadmi, the NRI’s and PIO’s with no particular capital, but instead with a higher intellect, to invest intellectually in India by providing their valuable ideas.
Today I would like to state my idea for a smart and swacch village. Block development Officers, as the name suggests, could not develop villages in the last sixty-seven years. BDOs in an ideal world can be builders of village-blocks for steep financial growth, making India a developed nation. In order to achieve that objective, India requires taking away BDOs from their civil hierarchical chain and instead making them unique and special people of authority by re-designating them as Village Managers with attractive pay-packages and strict responsibilities to turn villages into profit making units.
Villages need to become creative entities in India’s scheme of development. An audit to learn the strengths and weaknesses of a particular village would be the first step in order to start its development. The audit should take into account the number of young and old men, young and old women, children, the educated and the uneducated. Information on existing infrastructure, assets, etc should also be determined so input requirements can be finalised to turn the village from loss to profit.
Village managers should list the name of unskilled and semi-skilled rural youth based on their skill choices and accordingly make arrangements for their skill development by seeking financial support from ‘Deen Dayal Gramin Kuashal Yojana’. Skill developer’s support can be attained from The National Skill Development Corporation. Skill development alone can be instrumental in village development as it can lead to increased economic growth in villages. BDOs or Village managers should meet villagers regularly to educate them about cleanliness and how to lead a healthy life style by conducting health and yoga sessions.
In this endeavour, Indian diaspora in Australia can participate in the building of their parent nation by adopting a block of villages. They can remotely support their block from Australia whether this be- by sending funds, non-perishables etc.
There are many Indian IT firms here in Melbourne. It is my request for them to make an app called ‘My Contribution to India’. On this app platform, NRIs/PIOs in Australia can contribute as much as they wish. The amount received from their contribution will be kept in a bank account which will be duly controlled & supervised by the Indian High Commission. This app should display detailed accounts of each transaction and all expenditure towards the work done.
In conjunction with Indian associations in Melbourne, The Indian High Commission can find a mechanism to allocate a particular block of villages to each organisation. The associations will be encouraged to raise funds in a structured fashion for this noble cause assisting their development further.
BDOs will be asked to let us know of the number of toilets needed in the villages of which they are in charge of. Hon. Matthew Guy, the leader of Opposition in Victoria has recently visited India and has met several Indian parliamentarians, who sought to know whether Australia can provide durable, economical and smart toilet technology, in order to fast-track Swacch Bharat Mission in Villages. Fortunately, an Australian company is in the process of transferring their technology to India.
I am sure that if a permanent mechanism is established and group of volunteers is created under the umbrella of the Indian High Commission, NRIs and PIOs in Australia would be able to contribute to the betterment of their parent country with patriotic fervour. Even if fund collection falls short, a mechanism will be in put in place to remotely monitor and supervise rural skill development, the Swacch Bharat Mission and the development of proper sanitation in the villages, hopefully in the future giving them the title of ‘smart.’
We, in Melbourne celebrate our religious festivals such as Diwali, Holi, Navratri, Durga Puja, Christmas, etc and we spend money for our self-merriment. On these happy occasions, we can make a habit of contributing towards the growth of these smart Indian villages.
Today, I appeal to The Indian High Commission to pioneer this welfare initiative.
Contributed by Mr. Vasan Srinivasan- Founder Chair of Confederation of Indian Australian Associations Inc and Member of Australian Multicultural Council.
BDOs can make smart villages in India: PBD Melbourne
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) was held on 21st February, 2016 by the Consul General of India, Ms Manika Jain.
Speaking on the occasion, Chair of CIAA, Mr Vasan Srinivasan suggested the idea of assigning Block Development Officers the responsibility of rural skill development, Swacch Bharat, etc. at Indian Consulate in Melbourne.