The government has identified 15 basic amenities to enhance quality of life in villages. It has asked gram panchayats (GPs) to make all these facilities available to the people. These include drinking water, playgrounds and open-air theatres.
The move is aimed at arresting the migration of rural people towards urban areas. In a circular issued last week, the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Department said of the 6.11 crore population of Karnataka, nearly 61 per cent live in rural areas. There are 59,532 habitats and 27,397 villages within 5,629 GPs.
The foremost priority with the government is to enhance quality of life in villages so that it is on a par with urban areas, the department said. The department has asked GPs to make the amenities available through ongoing schemes, including the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).
Since the government is committed to provide at least 55 litres per capita day (LPCD) of water to every family in a village, the GPs should focus on providing individual households tap connections.
At the same time, focus should also be given to construction of toilets for each household under the MNREGA and the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. Schools and anganwadis in villages should be provided with toilets even as panchayats have to take steps towards solid waste management, the department said.
Large tracks of roads (75,866 km) in the State are still mud tracks and they require development, the department said. This would help improve the economic activities of the region. Also, GPs are required to provide roads to farms under different schemes.
Playgrounds and open-air theatres provide the much-needed avenues for physical activity and recreation of village people. There should be at least one playground and one open-air theatre in each village.
The GPs should also provide animal shelters for cows and sheep. This would encourage dairy and sheep-rearing activities. Also, community harvesting facilities should be provided to enable small and marginal farmers to join in, the department said.
Having concurred with the department of e-governance to extend e-governance facilities, the RDPR Department said each panchayat should establish citizen service centres in their limits.
This is to avoid village people approaching hobli/taluk headquarters to get services, including land records and utility payments, the department said.
Besides providing skill development centres for the youth, panchayats should also focus on enabling the youth to set up self-employment units. Water harvesting, groundwater recharge and improvement of village tanks/lakes are also projects to be pursued.