Kurukshetra Magazine Summary October 2023: Clean And Green Villages

Kurukshetra Magazine October 2024 Summary



  • India is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) actively involving Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) to localise SDGs into nine themes.
  • This article focuses on Theme 5 – Clean and Green Village, highlighting critical interventions, initiatives, and case studies showcasing successful practices by Gram Panchayats.

Key Interventions for Clean and Green Village:

Awareness Generation:

  • Educating citizens on sustainable practices, waste reduction, and energy consumption.
  • Promoting measures within Gram Panchayats to reduce environmental pollution, especially plastic usage.

Climate Change Understanding:

  • Creating an understanding of climate change and its impact among Gram Sabha, Panchayat committees, and community volunteers.

Biodiversity Mapping:

  • Mapping land use patterns, water bodies, forests, and degraded areas within Gram Panchayats’ biodiversity registers.

Sustainable Norms:

  • Establishing sustainable norms for common resource use, water sources, waste management, and sanitation goals.

Technology Adoption:

  • Selecting appropriate technology for water supply and sanitation based on participatory assessments.
  • Pursuing Mission LIFE certification for Panchayats.

Gram Panchayats and Clean and Green Village:

  • Gram Panchayats focus on water and land conservation, promoting clean energy, waste management, and sanitation to achieve Clean and Green Village status.
  • Panchayats play a pivotal role in addressing the effects of climate change on rural households.
  • The Ministry encourages eco-friendly projects involving Panchayats in resource management and waste initiatives.

Open Defecation Free (ODF):

  • Approximately 52% of villages are ODF Plus, sustaining ODF status with solid or liquid waste management systems.
  • Numerous villages have implemented Solid Waste Management (2,22,637) and Liquid Waste Management (3,60,103) arrangements.

Gram Urja Swaraj Abhiyaan:

  • Collaboration between the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
  • It aims to make Gram Panchayats’ energy self-sufficient through renewable energy projects.
  • Examples include windmills, biogas plants, micro-hydel power, and solar energy initiatives.
  • Over 2020 Gram Panchayats have implemented Renewable Energy Projects.

Mission LIFE:

  • Introduced at COP26, Mission LiFE advocates for global sustainable living.
  • Focus on “Demand Shift” in Phase 1 with 75 eco-actions across seven categories.
  • Panchayats are pivotal in promoting eco-friendly practices, waste reduction, and sustainable agriculture.

Capacity Building Initiatives:

  • MOPR emphasises capacity building for PRIs through Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA).
  • Technical and institutional support is provided for strengthening PRIs and encouraging inter-ministerial coordination.

Convergence for Clean and Green Panchayats:

  • Collaboration and support are required from various government ministries, NGOs, college students, and youth organisations.
  • State Panchayati Raj Departments must integrate government schemes into Panchayat Action Plans.
  • All Gram Panchayats must embrace clean and green principles to achieve LSDGs by 2030.

India’s Achievements and Case Studies:

  • India has made significant strides in greening and cleaning rural areas, achieving 100 GW of installed renewable energy capacity.

Case studies highlight successful practices:

  • Kundal Gram Panchayat in Maharashtra with 100% solid waste management.
  • Syasan Ambagam Gram Panchayat in Odisha with door-to-door garbage collection and community-based natural resource management.
  • Meenangadi Gram Panchayat in Kerala’s Wayanad district, a model for carbon neutrality.
  • Thikekarwadi Gram Panchayat in Maharashtra awarded Gram Urja Swaraj Vishesh Panchayat Puraskar.
  • Hasudi Ausanpur Gram Panchayat in UP is working towards ‘Carbon Neutrality’ with progress in afforestation and renewable energy interventions.


  • The Ministry of Panchayati Raj, through various initiatives and interventions, aims to make significant contributions to achieving the SDGs, particularly in ensuring Clean and Green Villages.
  • The case studies showcase exemplary efforts by Gram Panchayats in adopting sustainable practices and contributing to environmental conservation.



  • Integral to India’s identity, villages face challenges from urbanisation trends that threaten their traditional essence.
  • The article emphasises the importance of preserving greenery to revive villages within the vision of Viksit Bharat by 2047.

Top-down Facilitation through the Ministry of Panchayati Raj:

  • The Ministry interfaces with 278,000 PRIs via Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Yojana (RGSY) for unrecognised SDGs.
  • Local Indicator Framework (LIF) focuses on ‘Clean and Green Villages’ with interconnected themes.
  • The approach is interactive and iterative and includes sharing success stories for learning and adaptation.

Narrative for Engagement with Village Communities:

  • Afforestation requires consistent, long-term efforts involving all age groups in the village.
  • Citizens play a vital role in passing on values, linking to successful movements like Chipko.
  • Structured awareness campaigns involving village communities, especially around culturally significant trees, can enhance preservation efforts.
    • The medicinal value of trees aligns with the Ministry of AYUSH’s focus, offering economic opportunities and revitalising villages.

Sourcing of Local Material for Construction:

  • ‘Clean and green villages’ should consider using environmentally suitable construction materials.
  • Local materials like bamboo are eco-friendly, easily recyclable, and align with sustainability goals.
  • Architects advocate for clay, mud, stones, grasses, leaves, and wood as appropriate alternatives.
  • Local materials harmonise with topography, geography, and climate, providing insulation and comfort.

Sustainable Architecture:

  • Sustainable village architecture should incorporate ‘green’ principles and local design
  • Architects must reshape education to address contemporary village challenges and empower communities.
  • Breaking the financially focused model, sustainable architecture should foster community pride.

Minimum Damage to Green Cover:

  • Construction is vital, but guidelines are lacking, leading to unnecessary concretisation and harm to green cover.
  • Green cover stabilises rainfall, prevents runoff, and maintains soil health, benefiting ecosystems.
  • Preserving traditional groundwater practices offers mineral-rich, clean water.
  • Traditional Indian knowledge can provide valuable solutions for balancing agriculture and green cover.

Way Forward:

  • Villages embody ‘living with nature,’ rooted in Jal-Jangal-Jamin.
  • Architecture is crucial for sustainable communities, and villages offer niche tourism with green cover as an attraction.
  • Preserving green cover involves revitalising biodiversity and revisiting growth principles with a ‘green’ focus.
  • Educational structures imparting modern and traditional Indian knowledge are vital for community involvement in revitalisation efforts.

 3. Integrated Solar Village Scheme for Inclusive Development.

India’s Net Zero Commitment and Citizen-Centric Approach:

  • India aims for net-zero emissions by 2070 in its updated Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs).
  • The approach focuses on citizens, ensuring a just and inclusive clean energy transition while achieving SDGs.

Solar Villages:

  • The concept involves comprehensive economic development in rural areas, integrating livelihoods and enhancing social service infrastructure.
  • It is seen as a viable option for DISCOMs (Distribution Companies) as it reduces the subsidy burden by lowering the cost of servicing rural households.
  • States like Gujarat (Modhera), Bihar (Dharnai), and Odisha (Barapitha) have experimented with the concept.

Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE) in Rural Areas:

  • DRE transforms communities into ‘prosumers,’ enhancing access to quality power supply through renewable sources like biomass and solar.
  • It positively impacts education, healthcare, internet access, livelihoods, and grid resilience against extreme climate events.
  • DRE installations create employment opportunities, being labour-intensive compared to utility-scale solar projects.

Promotion of Rooftop Solar and Decentralized Livelihood Applications:

  • The central and state governments actively promote rooftop solar and decentralised livelihood applications.
  • Phase II of the Grid Connected Solar Rooftop Programme provides capital subsidies for rooftop solar installations.
  • The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) simplifies the subsidy application process through the SPIN portal.

Framework for Integration of DRE Livelihood Applications:

  • A framework is in place to promote the integration of DRE livelihood applications, supported by initiatives from states like Jharkhand and Uttarakhand.
  • This aims to enhance rural livelihoods by adopting renewable or solar energy.

Quantity and Quality of Electricity Supply:

  • According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ‘Energy Plus’ framework, access to electricity is necessary but insufficient to develop rural livelihoods.
  • While India has achieved nearly 100% electrification of households, ensuring a reliable power supply is crucial.
  • Rural areas, with an average of 20 hours of supply per day, face more power outages and quality issues than urban areas.

Integrated Solar Village Development Scheme:

  • The proposed scheme aims to improve the reliability and quality of power supply in rural areas.
  • It intends to boost rural income by integrating solar energy into the rural economy.
  • The scheme also focuses on strengthening social services such as health and education, ultimately generating employment in the rural sector.


  • India’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2070 underscores a citizen-centric approach, emphasising solar villages, distributed renewable energy, and rooftop solar.
  • These initiatives address environmental goals and drive inclusive economic development, improve livelihoods, and ensure sustainable rural progress.



  • Crop residues (CR), including stubbles, stalks, stover, husk, bran, bagasse, and molasses, are recognised as valuable resources.
  • Once considered waste, these materials serve multiple purposes, such as livestock bedding, animal feed, bio-gas, compost, thatching, and energy production.

Challenges and Perspectives:

  • India produces 683 million tonnes of CR annually, with significant amounts left unused, particularly in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • On-farm burning of CR harms the environment, depletes soil nutrients, raises soil temperatures, and emits pollutants, contributing to air pollution and climate change.
  • Farmers in northwestern India resort to burning paddy stubbles due to a shortage of farm labour, a short window for field preparation, and the widespread use of combine harvesters.

Regulations and Solutions:

  • The National Green Tribunal and Supreme Court have prohibited CR burning in several states, with punitive actions against defaulters.
  • Central government schemes offer financial aid for Crop Residue Management (CRM) machinery, promoting alternatives to burning.
  • The Pusa Decomposer technology decomposes paddy stubbles, minimising burning and improving soil quality.
  • The government encourages the use of vermicomposting and microbial-based crop residue management.
  • Collaborative efforts have led to a 5% decrease in crop residue-burning events in 2022.

Innovative Approaches:

  • Banana pseudo stems are explored as a rich source of natural fibre for products like sarees, cables, ropes, nets, bio-pesticides, paper, sanitary pads, and handicrafts.
  • A startup in Odisha is building electric vehicle batteries using crop residues, offering eco-friendly and cost-effective solutions.
  • Bio-energy options include biogas production from anaerobic digestion of rice residue, gasification for electric energy, and bio-ethanol production from rice straw.
  • Production of rice-straw briquettes for brick kilns and straw pellets for domestic use are viable options for energy production.

Moving Forward:

  • Collaborative efforts between Central and State Governments and stakeholders have reduced crop residue burning events.
  • Significant funds have been allocated for stubble management, leading to the procurement of machinery and the establishment of Custom Hiring Centres.
  • Farm fires’ contribution to Delhi’s air pollution levels has decreased, improving the Air Quality Index.
  • States are implementing action plans and educational campaigns for effective crop residue management.

Innovations for Sustainable Agriculture:

  • Banana pseudo stems utilised for natural fibres showcase eco-friendly alternatives.
  • Electric vehicle batteries made from crop residues offer economic benefits and prevent burning.
  • Bio-energy options contribute to sustainable energy solutions, including bio-gas, electric energy through gasification, and bio-ethanol from rice straw.


  • In conclusion, recognising crop residues as valuable resources, India faces challenges of on-farm burning, impacting the environment.
  • Regulatory measures, innovative approaches, and collaborative efforts are transforming waste into sustainable solutions, promoting eco-friendly practices and mitigating the adverse effects of crop residue burning on agriculture and the environment.



  • The Government of India pursues Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a ‘Leaving No One Behind’ motto through a comprehensive ‘Whole of Government and Whole of Society’ approach.
  • Clean and green initiatives extend beyond waste removal and tree planting, encompassing health, climate action, water conservation, increased life expectancy, well-being, and environmental protection.

Holistic Wellness in Clean and Green Villages:

  • “Clean and Green” entails holistic wellness, including hygiene, climate care, water preservation, and overall village sanitation.
  • Gram Panchayats aims for “clean and green” and must preserve water, land, and soil health for a sustainable environment.

Components of a Clean and Green Village:

  • Open Defecation Free Village
  • Clean & Green Schools
  • Clean & Green Anganwadis
  • Scientific Management Of Solid Waste
  • Waste Water Management
  • Affordable & Clean Energy (solar & wind energy)
  • Greening Development
  • Promotion of Organic Farming and reduction of chemical fertilisers
  • Celebrate Clean and Green living
  • Strengthening local committees and enhancing larger participation
  • Supply of Clean & Safe Drinking water
  • Improvement of Indoor Air Quality
  • Energy Conservation
  • Rainwater Conservation, including Rainwater Harvesting

Government Initiatives for Clean and Green Village:

  • Nine Indian government Secretaries signed an advisory in March 2022, focusing on SDG localisation through PRIs, particularly the “Clean & Green Village” theme.
  • Ministry of Jal Shakti’s Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation leads this initiative.

Swachh Bharat Mission:

  • Launched in 2014 to achieve universal sanitation coverage, targeting a Swachh Bharat (Clean India) by 2019.
  • Relies on Behavior Change Communication (BCC) for consistent toilet use and community action for cleanliness.
  • By 2019, the campaign had built 100 million toilets in 6,30,000 villages.

Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM):

  • Launched in 2019, aiming to provide clean, safe, and adequate drinking water to all rural households by 2024.
  • Prioritises water quality, and as of Aug 15, 2023, 12.85 crore households have functional taps.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan – Catch The Rain (JSA CTR):

  • Launched in 2019, the campaign aimed at water conservation in 1,592 water-stressed blocks across 256 districts.
  • Followed by the Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch The Rain (CTR) campaign in 2021, focusing on rainwater harvesting, water conservation, and awareness.
  • The 2022 campaign included additional interventions like Spring Shed Development and Management.

Convergence of Ministries and Role of Gram Panchayat:

  • Success relies on support from various government departments, NGOs, and institutions, involving Drinking Water & Sanitation, Water Resources, New & Renewable Energy, Environment & Forests, Rural Development, Land Resources, Agriculture, Animal Husbandries, and Panchayati Raj.
  • Gram Panchayats play a crucial role in creating awareness, reducing waste, promoting sustainable practices, mapping resources, and setting water and sanitation goals.


  • Inspired by Gandhi’s vision, India’s sustainable village development aims to enhance rural life and reduce urban migration.
  • Government initiatives like ‘National Mission for a Green India’, ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’, ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’, and more focus on creating ‘Clean and Green’ villages.
  • Local institutions like Gram Panchayats are vital, but challenges exist, requiring nationwide promotion and convergent action for global sustainability and climate change mitigation.

6. Leveraging Agroecological Approaches for Clean and Green Villages

 Rural India’s Role in Sustainable Development:

  • Rural areas contribute significantly to socio-economic growth, with 65% of the population and 47% dependent on agriculture.
  • Demographic dividend and transformative potential in rural areas align with the vision of “Viksit Bharat by 2047” outlined by PM Narendra Modi.

Agroecology for Sustainable Rural Development:

  • Agroecology integrates ecological and social principles for optimising food and agricultural systems
  • Prioritises natural processes, local knowledge, and participatory methods for achieving sustainable agrifood systems.
  • The Green and Clean Village initiative focuses on tree planting, organic farming, ecosystem conservation, and renewable energy for a sustainable rural India.

Organic and Natural Farming Initiatives:

  • Organic and natural farming align with agroecological principles, promoting chemical-free agriculture and enhancing soil health.
  • Government schemes like Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCDNER) support organic farming.
  • The PM-PRANAM initiative promotes sustainable fertilisation, organic farming, and resource conservation.

Waste Management and Circular Economy:

  • Biogas and organic manure from waste contribute to energy needs, reduce emissions, and enhance waste management.
  • The Gobardhan program under the Swachh Bharat Mission converts organic waste into biogas and bio-slurry, promoting clean villages and a circular economy.
  • MNRE supports biogas plant installation for cooking, and the SATAT initiative ensures Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) availability as automotive fuel.

Rural Industries and Job Creation:

  • Agroecological practices enhance rural industries, supporting livelihoods and waste management.
  • Biogas, a renewable energy industry, meets rural energy needs, boosts agricultural productivity, and generates employment.
  • Over 1200 Biogas Plants exist nationwide, generating various skilled and unskilled jobs.

Market Development and Livelihood Enhancement:

  • Organic fertilisers from biogas slurry receive market development assistance under the Fertilizer Control Order (1985).
  • Agroecology-based programs enhance rural livelihoods, value chains, and exports, supporting the National Mission on Natural Farming.


  • Scaling up agroecology-based programs and schemes is essential for achieving Clean and Green Village objectives.
  • Grassroots implementation with support from panchayats, cooperatives, Self-Help Groups (SHG), and women SHGs is crucial for the success of these initiatives.


 Environmental Challenges in Rural India:

  • Rural areas face significant environmental issues, including poor waste disposal, deforestation, air and water pollution, soil degradation, and over-cultivation.
  • Legislation like the Forest Conservation Act, Air and Water Pollution Control Acts, and initiatives like the National Action Plan on Climate Change and the Green India Mission aim to address these challenges.

Role of Digital Technology in Environmental Protection:

  • Digital technologies present a potent opportunity for greener, sustainable futures in urban and rural areas.
  • Increasingly connected villages surpass urban areas in internet usage, and digital initiatives are utilised for sustainable agriculture, water conservation, waste management, and rural connectivity.

Government’s Approach to Digital Environmental Protection:

  • India employs digital technology for holistic environmental protection, utilising social media, apps, and digital data to educate citizens, track progress, and engage in sustainable practices.
  • Online platforms are used to gather feedback, promote ideas, and mobilise participation, fostering a sustainable and informed society.

Challenges in Implementation:

  • Challenges include insufficient environmental awareness, digital exclusion in rural areas due to device scarcity and connectivity issues, resource constraints, and lack of stakeholder coordination.

Government’s Perseverance and Impact:

  • Despite challenges, the government utilises digital technology to promote rural environmental awareness and protection.
  • Initiatives by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) using social media and workshops demonstrate commitment to rural sustainability.

Use of Social Media in Environmental Education:

  • MoEFCC utilises social media and a multilingual website to educate villagers on environmental issues and share success stories.
  • Challenges like limited internet access and illiteracy are addressed as the Ministry strives for rural sustainability.

Namami Gange Project:

  • The Namami Gange project employs digital technology to monitor and revive the Ganga River, using satellite imagery for pollution tracking and social media for citizen engagement.
  • The project showcases the transformative potential of digital tech in changing the condition of the Ganga River.

Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR):

  • Established in 1993, WOTR utilises digital technologies, including geospatial tools, ICTs, and social media, to advance village environmental sustainability.
  • They empower communities for sustainable resource management through mapping resources and fostering awareness.

Centre for Environment Education (CEE):

  • CEE, a nonprofit organisation since 1984, promotes environmental education and sustainable development through a vast network of partners.
  • CEE effectively uses social media in rural India, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, for information sharing, educational initiatives, and community connections.

Digital Green Initiative:

  • Digital Green enhances small landholding farmers’ lives through digital technology and local partnerships in countries like India, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan.
  • They promote sustainable farming and food security and employ digital tech for monitoring soil, water, and deforestation, emphasising environmental protection.


  • In conclusion, rural India grapples with environmental challenges, but the government is committed to resolve these issues with digital technology.
  • It is exemplified by initiatives like Namami Gange, WOTR, CEE, and Digital Green, demonstrating a transformative approach to sustainable development and environmental protection in rural communities.


 Safeguarding India’s Environment for Future Generations:

  • India’s diverse landscapes necessitate sustained clean and green efforts to address critical issues like lack of electricity, clean water, and sanitation.
  • The World Bank’s 2019 report highlights the importance of green development and technology adoption, especially in regions where livelihoods depend on forests and nature.

Need for Green and Clean Technologies:

  • Prioritising a low-carbon, inclusive village-level green economy is essential for global clean energy access, addressing indoor air pollution, and improving the human development index.
  • Initiatives like the switch to bottled cooking gas in India have proven life-saving, particularly for vulnerable populations exposed to toxic indoor smoke.

Potential of Renewable Energy Generation – Vision and Mission:

  • India aims to become a global solar energy leader with the National Solar Mission, targeting 500 GW of renewable energy capacity and five million tonnes of green hydrogen production by 2030.
  • Abundant sunshine and coastal wind provide strategic advantages, positioning India as a leader in green energy production, benefitting rural areas and creating jobs.

Government Policies and Initiatives:

  • The 2023 Union Budget allocates Rs. 35,000 crores for energy transition and Net Zero goals, emphasising a green energy shift.
  • India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change focuses on cleantech for energy independence by 2047, with initiatives like the National Green Hydrogen Mission and the UJALA LED bulb campaign.

Role of Self-Help Groups:

  • Self-Help Groups (SHGs), primarily rural and women-led, play a pivotal role in green initiatives, especially in programs like Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G).
  • Women’s leadership has been crucial in the success of initiatives like SBM-G, highlighting their vital role in promoting sustainable practices.

Emerging Opportunities with Green Development Initiatives:

  • Clean energy innovations in the farm sector offer a USD 40 billion market, transforming various enterprises engaged in custom tailoring, food processing, and livestock rearing activities.
  • Decentralised renewable energy (DRE) powers rural appliances, reducing crop production costs and creating economic viability through government incentives.

Focus Areas to Accelerate Use of Renewable Energy:

  • Efficient equipment powered by renewable energy sources is crucial for providing reliable electricity to rural appliances.
  • Reducing battery costs and developing cost-effective, super-efficient, small-sized motors are necessary for improving the economic viability of DRE.

Challenges for Shift to Green Technologies:

  • Global renewable energy investment requirements, potential savings, the need for low-carbon technologies, and the estimated market value in India by 2030.
  • International support from organisations like the World Bank and developed nations is crucial for India’s low-carbon transition and achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.


  • In conclusion, safeguarding India’s environment requires a robust commitment to green and clean technologies, emphasising renewable energy and inclusive development.
  • Government initiatives, the role of self-help groups, and emerging opportunities showcase a path towards sustainability. Yet, challenges necessitate global support for India’s transition to a low-carbon future and achieving net-zero emissions.

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