These Indian villages are more liveable and happier than any other Indian cities, villages and towns. They are model villages of India resulting from individual initiatives and NPO initiatives often using the Indian government schemes.
Piplantri village of Rajasthan is a hope for Indian development and prosperity as many families still mourn the birth of a female in the community. Whenever a girl is born in the village, her family and all villagers come together to celebrate this occasion by planting 111 trees. Both are raised with equal respect. To provide financial security, a sum of Rs. 21,000 is contributed by the villagers and Rs. 10,000 is given by the family for every girl and kept as a fixed deposit which can be liquidated once she turns 20. In return, the parents are asked to sign a legal affidavit, which makes it mandatory for them to educate her, and prohibits them to make her marry before the age of 18. This move also tries to demolish the notion of girls being a burden on their parents. To save the plants from termite, villagers plant aloe vera around them. More than 3 million trees and aloe vera plants have been planted till now which is generating livelihood for many families. The trees planted include Neem, Sheesham, Mango, and Amla. This unique initiative was started by former village sarpanch Shyam Sundar Paliwal as ‘The Kiran Nidhi Yojana’ after he lost his daughter named Kiran in 2006. On Raksha Bandhan, girls tie Rakhi to tress. The villagers claim that this tradition has brought immense harmony in the village, and not a single police case has been registered in the last 7-8 years. Several villages nearby have started to adopt similar practice. The village today has eco-friendly gas stoves, toilets, solar lights, anganwaadi, healthcare centres, air-conditioned panchayat hall and modern schools.
Punsari village of Gujarat is regarded as India’s smartest village. It is rurban village. The word ‘rurban’ (rural+urban) refers to an area which has the economic characteristics and lifestyles of an urban area while retaining its essential rural area features. The village has clean and proper roads, schools and education system, 24-hour electricity supply in every household, school bus and public transport system, proper water supply and RO treated drinking water with minimum charges. The classrooms are air-conditioned. There is a good communication system between the panchayat office and the whole village to keep people well-informed and be available for help anytime they need. A public address system which covers the entire population with the help of about 140 loudspeakers installed all over the village. The village has good healthcare services and employment opportunities. It is a model village of India where there is WIFI, all chowk monitoring by CCTV cameras, solar street lights, with literacy rate of 100%. There is a bio metric system for Gram Panchayat Employees. The transformation of this village is achieved by the efforts of the village sarpanch (headman) Himanshu Patel through effective planning and utilization of central and state government funds. Mr Patel leads an 11-member committee which runs the village affairs including five are female members. Mr Patel says the village council has spent 140m rupees ($2.28m; £1.43m) on development schemes between 2006 and 2012. The state chief minister at that time was Narendra Modi, current Prime minister of India who envisioned to stop migration out of the village. It has been a partial success , as 15-20 families have returned to the village from the cities like Mumbai in recent years.
Mendha Lekha village
To enter this Maharashtrian village, we have to walk through a bamboo entrance, which points to the rich growth of bamboo in this village. The villagers living here are mostly the Gond tribe of Madhya Pradesh. There is a notice board at the entrance which says “At the centre, there is Delhi government. At the state, there is Mumbai government, but here we are our own government.” This shows the pride the 450 people take in the way they have used an unexpected opportunity that came their way to reap a fortune. Mendha Lekha became the first village in India to secure community forest rights (CFR). The village is famous for the bio-diversity of its deciduous forest and the struggle of its tribal community towards self-rule. Nearly 80% of the village area is forested and under the legally-recognised control of the villagers represented by the village general assembly (gram sabha). This whole land can be inherited and used but cannot be not sold. Mendha Lekha has proved that legal security of their rights to control, use, manage and protect their own resources and lives, through processes of self-powering, can make people end poverty, maintain food and water supply, and protect local biodiversity. And all this takes place much more effectively than capitalism and development programs created by central government.
This village in Bihar has never seen electricity until 2014. The village is now fully solar powered. With the help of Greenpeace, the village installed a solar-powered micro-grid, which provides 24×7 electricity to more than 450 households and 50 commercial establishments. The entire project cost them 3 crores. Earlier, were forced to struggle with kerosene lamps and expensive diesel generators. This changed the lives of the villagers in many socio-economic and personal aspects. It created opportunities for female residents to access the public and personal spaces and move after sunset. Children can now study after sunset. People no longer needed to finish cooking before the sunset.
This north-eastern village of India is considered as Asia’s cleanest village. Located in Meghalaya, the village has many beautiful and interesting places which include a strange sight of a big rock balancing on another rock. The main occupation of the villagers is agriculture and also offer community based eco-tourism opportunities. A dustbin made from bamboo plant is found throughout the village. All the waste from the dustbins is collected and stored in a pit, which is later used as manure. The villagers plant trees to ensure that the virgin forest is kept intact and also replenished and are currently working towards plastic ban. The village has a literacy rate of 90%.
picture source: http://www.northeasttourism.gov.in
This Bihari village is an ecological village which practices organic farming and have prospered since then. Apart from that, the village has proper water conservation systems and cleanliness is maintained throughout the village. No one in the village is suffering from any kind of serious illness. Every house in the village has electricity supply and uses biogas to save electricity and fuel. All the farmers of Kedia village, followed the ‘Living Soils’ approach under ‘Food for life’ campaign’ run by Greenpeace. This approach is targeted to restore the ruined agricultural practices, by reducing chemical dependency and improve soil health through nourishment of the soil with biomass-based organic practices and materials. By applying scientific methods, existing knowledge and experiences the farmers successfully restored the soil of their village by coordination and collaboration with government for machinery. The villagers till date use only groundwater and lake water for irrigation. The unique toilets of the village households have no underground tanks so that the human waste can be used as a natural manure later on. The results have brought prosperity and happiness to the villagers by ending the dependence on commercial chemical-based materials and enjoying healthier yields with a up to 80% reduce in cost of inputs. The village organizes and celebrates a festival of organic farming called ‘Jashn-e-jaivik’. Greenpeace mentioned that they were able to make organic farming easier and successful in this village “With the help of many governmental schemes like ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and ‘Jaivik Krishi Yojana’ besides MNGREGA. Inspired by this, other villages around Kedia have also started adopting similar methods.
Picture sources: 1. India times, 2. Gaon connection and 3. Greenpeace.