Rural development is no longer seen as synonymous with generation of employment and income alone; it is much more than that and should encompass all that goes to improve the quality of life of people by way of better facilities in regard to education, sanitation, roads, housing, drinking water, electricity and the like. The objectives of accelerating road and distributing benefits of development equitably call for strengthening the rural infrastructure in social sectors.
A programme, through a 'bottom-up' planning approach, to provide 16 basic amenities in each village of the State was conceived by Government of Gujarat in 1995-96. The programme, christened 'Gokul Gram Yojana' was intended at comprehensive development of the villages. According to this programme, developmental efforts were to be embarked and achieved in a phased manner; i.e. 20 per cent of the total number of villages were to be selected every year and thereby the entire state over a period of 5 years. Although the Gokul Gram Yojana (GGY) was started in the year 1995-96, due to the certain technical reasons, the programme lost its momentum in between and was subsequently restarted in 1998-1999.
To provide 16 basic amenities in all the villages of the state, to improve village infrastructure and making the villages self sustainable and ideal Gokul Gram by involving village level Gokul Gram Samithies.
To create ideal villages with basic amenities with people's participation.
Primary Schools and rural road connectivity in the selected villages were supported under RIDF.
Special Features of the Programme
The degree of people's participation in implementation is quite high. The awareness about the yojana was found to be reasonably good even among the tribal people.
The programme has benefited in improving the infrastructural facilities of rural Gujarat. A number of villages without the basic amenities have received the required infrastructural setup within a reasonable time.
Achieved new connectivity, new school rooms and also women empowerment (tailoring classes).
The programme has led to positive impacts on the social fabric of the State as well. Many villagers have opined that due to coming up of facilities like community hall, people in the villages have started to meet each other and thereby a new found unity has been established among the villagers.
Gokul Gram Yojana is a modest effort undertaken by the State Government to ensure that all the villagers not only get equipped with amenities but also to have a beautiful outlook and a cleaner environment within a stipulated time frame. However, the governmental resources alone may not be adequate for this purpose. While the people in a particular village do contribute their mite in the form of cash and labour, the wholehearted contribution from general public is also a must for the success of the programme. To this extent, appeals are being made to donors, trust, institutes, industrial houses etc. to extend the support for the scheme. There has been huge inflow of money from NRIs in certain districts. People are increasingly contributing either in cash or in kind towards the project. Income-Tax exemptions are being allowed on such contributions.