The road to smart cities goes through smart villages: MBA sarpanch

The development of villages is essential for the overall progress of the country and to have smart cities, a woman […]


The development of villages is essential for the overall progress of the country and to have smart cities, a woman sarpanch Chhavi Rajawat said. Rajawat, who shot to fame when she quit a cushy corporate job to contest for the post of sarpanch, said the panchayats, dependent on the bureaucracy for approval of funds, should be given financial powers to deliver results. “Smart cities are not possible without smart villages first … We live in the comforts of cities and often forget that a majority of people in our country live in villages. Everyone is directly or indirectly affected by villages,” she said. The MBA graduate-turned-sarpanch of Soda village in Rajasthan was addressing the FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), a division of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, on the topic, Women who have paved their own path, in Hyderabad on T. The village-level elected representatives are not able to deliver results as they lack financial autonomy, she said. “The panchayats should be given funds for use at their discretion. Right now, they are dependent on the bureaucracy for approvals,” Rajawat said. On the occasion, Dalit entrepreneur Kalpana Saroj spoke about her trials and tribulations – from struggling to earn earn Rs 2 a day to now running companies doing business of thousands of crores. Born in a small village in Maharashtra, she narrated her inspiring tale of rising from poverty to becoming a successful entrepreneur and winning the coveted Padma Shri award. “The path to success was difficult but not impossible,” Saroj said. JetSetGo founder and CEO Kanika Tekriwal shared her challenges in setting up the online marketplace for chartered jets. Coming from a traditional orthodox family, the 29-year old spoke about how she had to convince her parents to allow her to pursue higher studies and then start her business. Tekriwal recounted the days when she was afflicted by cancer and how her successful fight with the deadly disease made her strong. “Cancer was the best thing that happened to me. It is when I was fighting cancer that I got the resolve to do what I wanted,” she said.


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