Goa's 'Model Villages' Shouldn't Be a Model for Anything
Nitin Gadkari’s announcement during the election campaign that the Bharatiya Janata Party government would make Goa a model state is ambitious and completely overlooks how model villages have panned out in Goa. “If we have to build the nation we have to start from the villages,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said when announcing the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) – MP Model Village Scheme, implying that the model villages could scale up to a model state and from there to a model country.
Therefore, a natural corollary to Gadkari’s announcement is a scrutiny of how the SAGY has been implemented in the four model villages in Goa, all of whose MPs are from the BJP. In its conception and formulation, the SAGY, like the NDA government’s 60 schemes such as Swachh Bharat and Make in India that it was meant to be a convergence of, stood on the bedrock of a feudal caste society.
Critical to all these schemes are land rights. Data from the Indian Human Development Surveyconducted by the National Council of Applied Economic Research and the University of Maryland in 2011-12 indicated that open defecation was markedly high in SC and ST households. With the disadvantaged castes being landless or under tenurial systems that are sought to be predicated on their caste-based functions, getting no objections from landlords for availing of support for toilets under a scheme like Swachh Bharat is well nigh impossible for these marginalised sections.