The soul of India lives in its villages - Mahatma Gandhi

Government of India, under the energetic, committed & innovative leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is working on Smart cities & Smart Villages program, which is good initiative.

65% of India’s population lives in its villages. The youth from villages have been migrating to cities in search of work as there are no or less opportunities for employment in villages. They leave a good quality life of village for a poor quality of life in cities. This leads to slums & poor hygienic conditions of life for them in cities. We need to stop this migration from villages to cities. For this we need to create work opportunities in villages & make villages SMART for our citizens.

During the Mentor On Road drive to 35 states & 35 cities in USA, driving 20,000+ kms in 82 days, Jagat Shah, the mentor met 1500+ Indian American diaspora and presented to them “New India 4.0” which included a project of smart villages. The approach is to motivate Indian diaspora living abroad to adopt their home villages in India to be then converted into a smart village in 1000 days. How to do this ?

First we prepare & submit a secondary research report on the “As is situation” of the village on 70 parameters of village benchmark:

Based on this report, we expect the village adopter from abroad to give us three days of their time whenever they visit India. During these three days, in their presence, we will conduct a primary survey of village children, youth, middle aged men & women and elderly people in the village to find out their PAIN POINTS in the village which they wish to change. This is done through separate questionnaires which we have prepared for each category of people, in different languages. These surveys are conducted by school and college children, along with the teachers living in & around the village. This interview exercise is practical learning for the children / youth who conduct these interviews and in every problem of the society, lies a business model. So it Is expected that some of these youth will start a business to solve the pain points of the village, thereby creating employment in village itself.

We want the overseas adopter of village to be present during the primary survey so that they can first hand feel the pain points of the village. Besides, we expect the overseas adopter of village to suggest technology based solutions to the pain points and we look forward to their knowledge, experience, talent, networks, access & experience of technology.

Based on the pain points identified, we devise an action plan to solve them, one by one through a smart village manager whom we hire in the village, a person ( He / She who lives in the village ). Those pain points are solved first which majority of village calls as a pain point. This way it is a bottom - up approach to village development.

The big question Is where does the money come from?

We tap resources of private & public sector corporate social responsibility ( CSR ) funding, overseas development agency funding, personal social responsibility ( PSR ), Moral Social Responsibility ( MSR ) funds, funds from central government, state government, municipal corporation, panchayat & MLA / MP funds. Besides a start up fund from the adopter.

Every three months the activities are monitored for impact assessment.

We are glad to share that so far 62 villages, all over India in 19 states, have been adopted by Indian origin Americans living in USA, and we have submitted the secondary research reports for 48 of these villages and 14 village adopters have visited their villages from USA & work has started.

We are now appointing Smart Village Ambassadors who will contribute to the cause as their Moral Social Responsibility ( MSR ) towards nation building !

Intro of Jagat Shah

Approach to Smart Village

The problem & solution in Smart Villages

Funding source for smart village

Role of NRI’s in Smart Village

Jagat Shah, Mentor on Road, addressing senior citizens of Asian origin living in Chicago, USA