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Are ‘smart villages’ an antidote to urban migration?

As India Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) pushes for 100 'smart' cities, others such as Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi (right) say improving villages would discourage rural dwellers from moving to cities in the first place. (Prime minister's office photo)

As India Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheads his vision of 100 “smart” cities, there’s a also push within India for “smart villages.” Proponents say more resources for schools and power grids in rural areas would stem the flow of migrants to urban areas.

Though in its infancy, the smart-village movement in India and elsewhere appears to be gaining traction. The Indian Express reports that Delhi recently approved a plan to establish 300 rural clusters to promote economic and social development. Digital literacy, sanitation, waste collection and street lights are among the planned amenities.

At least two state-level officials have urged Modi to promote smart villages. The Indian Express reports that Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi insists that urban amenities be available in villages. Uttar Pradesh Urban Development Minister Azam Khan sees smart villages as discouraging migration, according to iGovernment.

The ministers weighed in as Modi ramps up efforts to upgrade existing cities. Last month, Delhi released a list of 98 cities, including 24 state capitals, slated to participate in the nation’s smart cities program. See the full list here

Indian Express

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