New Delhi: The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved a Rs 4,800 crore allocation for the ‘Vibrant Villages Programme’ (VVP), a centrally-sponsored scheme, to ensure the comprehensive development of villages along the northern border areas.
The financial allocation for 2022-23 to 2025-26 was approved at a meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and will include Rs 2,500 crore for the development of roads infrastructure, Union I&B Minister Anurag Thakur told reporters.
VVP was announced by the Central government last year.
The scheme, he said, will provide funds for the development of essential infrastructure and the creation of livelihood opportunities in 19 districts and 46 border blocks in four states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Ladakh along the northern land border of the country.
Thakur said the comprehensive development of villages along the northern border will improve the quality of life of people living there and help in encouraging them to stay in their native locations in these areas, thereby reversing the out-migration and adding to improved security of the border.
Asked whether the decision is linked with strengthening the security in border villages with China, the minister made it clear that those areas where development had not reached and the people of such areas had to migrate out, an opportunity has been provided to them to ensure they get employment and self-employment opportunities as the development will reach their villages on the same lines as that in other villages.
“The Prime Minister has given priority to the development of villages, especially on the border areas and whatever steps are required for national security the Modi government has taken. But, the Prime Minister has ensured that equal opportunities are provided to those border areas where development had not reached so far. PM Modi has thought about this which no one had ever thought till now.
“There is so much beauty and opportunities at the border, but the lack of opportunities and development on the border areas has forced people to migrate from there. People who were forced to migrate now have opportunities to reach out to border villages and see the beauty of villages in India,” he said.
All schemes of the government should also reach the remotest villages of the border areas to ensure that border villages turn vibrant, the minister said.