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Jan 2017

8:40 pm UTC

Pune district has 1,967 villages including bigger and smaller squatter settlements. There are 15 cities in the district including Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Around 40 lakh people reside outside these mega cities. The district has scored high on many counts compared to other districts in the State, but on the flip side, the development of bigger cities does not mean overall development of entire district. For balanced growth, development of rural area is a must and the same is possible. This will lead to transformation of villages.

In last two decades, with growing industrialisation, IT revolution, educational hub and growth of service sector, the face of Pune has changed considerably.

Pimpri-Chinchwad too has benefited through this change. This change has a speed of its own. However, along with urban areas, rural areas too need to undergo development.

Africa, Malaysia and Israel have made phenomenal transformation in changing the face of their villages. Interestingly, this was made possible in just a matter of few years. In just 10 to 12 years, the villages there became self-reliant and are confidently competing with cities in availability of infrastructural facilities. These countries did not have a magical wand. After winning the confidence of citizens and through planning and successful implementation of long-term schemes, these countries have transformed the villages. Along with this, the ever evolving monitoring mechanism for conducting successful skill development and entrepreneurship development programmes have led to the complete transformation of villages.

As one travels to east or west from Pune, within an hour one realises that the change in the landscape indicating end of city limits, but as one travels in Israel, one would not realise the difference between city and villages. The cities and villages have the same set of infrastructural facilities. With adequate educational facilities available in both cities and villages, the literacy rate is at par in both cities and villages. Similarly, the government there is emphasising on implementation of schemes through the use of technology.

The villages in Israel are no bigger than some of the settlements in India. These villages often face dearth of resources. To overcome this challenge, the villages in Israel have found a solution like Kibbutz and Moshav. When many families come together to conduct collective farming of large parcels of land spread over thousands of acres it is known as Kibbutz. The younger generation has right to choose whether to opt out of Kibbutz. Another method known as Moshav is also successful in Israel wherein farmers work together like farmer produce companies. They collectively take decisions on crop pattern after studying the current market trend.

In earlier days, the citizens of Israel were dependent on farming but they have brought about a change in their thinking and the way of working. Now, only three per cent citizens in Israel are dependent on agriculture. In Malaysia, educational system in rural area has been improved drastically to make it of international level. This took five years but the transformation made by this country is indeed worth replicating in India.

Pune district is rich is natural resources. We are fortunate in terms of availability of human resources. The rural area in Pune is leading in many aspects, if we compare the same with other areas in the state there is room for developing it to international level. Through social participation and the investment leading to sustainable wealth creation, the same can be achieved. Pune district has witnessed large scale urbanisation, but the citizens staying in its rural part are missing from the overall development scenario. In this sense we have failed to understand the concept of the transformation. Gauging the winds of change if we had implemented all encompassing skill development programme, then we would have noticed people from the district working as skilled labourers in place of migrated skilled labourers. There is need to implement entrepreneurship development programmes in rural parts. The experts from Israel are ready to extend their co-operation regarding this.

By combining their guidance and the local expertise, we too can create ‘Smart Villages’ as in Israel. We do not have dearth of expertise. Hence we need to create and implement separate policy for the development of rural areas located next to cities. ‘Smart villages’ does not just mean clean roads and facilities, but it means creating self-reliant villages which have their own identity. On the same topic, the in-depth discussion will be held on January 24 and 25 at the conference of Delivering Change Forum. Experts from Israel will extend their guidance on this topic. While achievin+g development of cities, there are many opportunities to start skill development programmes while studying the specific needs of rural area.

For those who want to choose the new way, the use of modern technology is unavoidable. Internet has become the fuel for the development of the world, Wi-Fi service needs to be established in the entire district in next 3 to 5 years. Internet connectivity will play a major role in bridging the gap in Pune Metropolitan region (including Pimpri-Chinchwad) and the rural area. The face of rural Pune will change through three stringed approach of entrepreneurship, skill and agricultural development programme.

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