Through the Lens: Life and Politics in Asia | Politics | Society | South Asia

How Developed Is Modi’s Model Village?

Nagepur is one of the four villages Modi “adopted” under a new development scheme. How is it faring?

After assuming office in 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his flagship rural development program, called Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana. Under this scheme, each member of parliament had to adopt at least three villages in her/his constituency, and develop them as model villages by improving their physical and institutional infrastructure. The idea was to inspire other villages in the country.

Nagepur is one of the four villages, alongside Jayapur, Kakarhia, and Domari, that Modi adopted in his parliamentary constituency, Varanasi, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Under the scheme, the village was promised better educational facilities, including the building of a government high school, as well as better healthcare facilities, including a government healthcare center, better employment opportunities, and construction of all-weather roads, among other things.

The people of Nagepur voted on May 19 to elect their next member of parliament. A few days before that, I asked villagers if the promises made by their current lawmaker had been fulfilled. Here’s what I found.