Vibrant Village Programme & Securing Himalayan Borders

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    In Context

    • The recently launched Vibrant Village Programme is hailed as a right step towards securing Himalayan borders.

    About the Vibrant Village Programme (VVP)

    • About:
      • The Vibrant Village Programme is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme recently approved by the Cabinet for the Financial Years 2022-23 to 2025-26.
      • The scheme will provide funds for the development of essential infrastructure and the creation of livelihood opportunities in 19 Districts and 46 Border blocks 4 states and 1 UT along the northern land border of the country which will help in achieving inclusive growth and retaining the population in the border areas. 
        • In the first phase 663 Villages will be taken up in the programme.
    • Aim:
      • The program aims towards the comprehensive development of villages of blocks on the northern border thus improving the quality of life of people living in identified border villages.  
    • Key highlights:
      • The scheme aids to identify and develop the economic drivers based on local natural human and other resources of the border villages on the northern border and the development of growth centres on the “Hub and Spoke Model” 
        • This will be done through:
          • Promotion of social entrepreneurship
          • Empowerment of youth and women through skill development and entrepreneurship
          • Leveraging the tourism potential through promotioon of local cultural, traditional knowledge and heritage and 
          • Development of sustainable eco-agribusinesses on the concept of “One village-One product” through community based organisations, Cooperatives, SHGs, NGOs etc.
      • Key outcomes that have been attempted are:
        • Connectivity with all weather road, 
        • Drinking water, 
        • 24×7 electricty – Solar and wind energy to be given focuseed attention, 
        • Mobile and internet connectivity. 
        • Tourist centers, multi-purpose centers and health and wellness Centers.
      • Vibrant Village Action Plans:
        • Vibrant Village Action Plans will be created by the district administration with the help of Gram Panchayats. 100 % saturation of Central and state schemes will be ensured.

    Significance

    • This initiative will soon transform our border villages neighbouring China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar
      • Border villages are being provided with all basic amenities including modern housing and good roads; water and electricity supply; good education, health and communication facilities; access to Doordarshan channels, etc. 
    • This will help in encouraging people to stay in their native locations in border areas and reversing the outmigration from these villages adding to improved security of the border.

    Issues & Challenges faced by Himalayan states

    • Social:
      • In 2018, the Parliamentary Standing Committee pointed towards illiteracy, backwardness and lack of basic facilities in our border areas. 
    • Issue of migration:
      • Migration is common in the Himalayas, with large numbers of males leaving the countryside to find work in urban centres. 
    • Security threats:
      • For decades Himalayan border villages remained untouched by development. Sensing an opportunity, China increased its influence along our borders by rapidly developing its infrastructure and increasing the presence of its army. 
      • India also suffered similar setbacks along the Pakistan border due to serious lapses.
      • Terror activities have also increased along the Myanmar border.
    • Unplanned Urbanisation:
      • The unplanned and unauthorised construction has led to the blocking of the natural flow of water, which eventually results in frequent landslides.
      • Himalayan slopes have become extremely unstable in the last few decades due to increased construction, hydroelectric projects, and the widening of the National Highway.
    • Subsidence of towns:
      • It has been reported that subsidence of the kind we have seen at Joshimath is also evident in several other Himalayan towns.
    • Ecology under stress:
      • Due to population growth, and industrial and commercial activity, the fragile ecology is under great stress. 
      • The common threats are deforestation, soil erosion and pressure on restricted land.
    • Climate change:
      • The effects of climate change are particularly worrisome in mountain environments, especially the impact on the region’s water supply, which serves over 1.3 billion people living downstream.
      • The frequency of floods and droughts seems to be on the rise, as is the demand for water, food and energy.

    Other initiatives by the government to secure Himalayan villages

    • PM Gram Sadak Yojna:
      • The PM Gram Sadak Yojna to connect remote villages with all-weather roads. 
      • It started with the construction of concrete roads in all villages with over 250 inhabitants. 
      • Remote villages were also connected with a robust optical fibre network. 
    • PM Awas Yojna:
      • Similarly, under PM Awas Yojna, pucca houses were constructed in remote villages. People were provided with water and electricity connections and given toilets. 
    • National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem:
      • About:
        • National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem is among the eight national missions in India’s first-ever National Action Plan on Climate Change.
      • Ecological significance of Himalayas, as stated in the mission document:
        • Himalayan ecosystem is vital to the ecological security of the Indian landmass, which includes 
          • Preservation of rich biodiversity, 
          • Providing water security as the world’s third ice pole after the Arctic and Antarctica and 
          • Influencing weather patterns throughout the sub-continent.
      • The mission attempts to address some important issues concerning
        • Himalayan Glaciers and the associated hydrological consequences,
        • Biodiversity conservation and protection,
        • Wildlife conservation and protection,
        • Traditional knowledge societies and their livelihood and
        • Planning for sustaining of the Himalayan Ecosystem.

    Way ahead

    • People living in border villages are the first line of our defence; they are our sentinels.
    • The Vibrant Village Programme is an important and commendable initiative that will address all of the issues & challenges faced by the Himalayan states.
    • This will not only make our borders safe and secure, it will also bring remote and border villages into the national mainstream, and make them more vibrant, developed and self-sufficient.

     

    Daily Mains Question

     

    [Q] What are the Issues & Challenges faced by Himalayan states? Highlight the significance of the Vibrant Village Programme (VVP) in dealing with the challenges.