C P Joshi, Rural Development Minister for Bhilwara

Congress leader C P Joshi, who heads the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Ministry, has chosen his own constituency, Bhilwara in Rajasthan, as the laboratory for all development schemes of his Ministry. He has been working overtime with officials of the Congress-led Rajasthan government on an ambitious pilot project to turn Bhilwara into a "developmental model" for the country.

The elaborate roadmap entails the convergence in Bhilwara of all ongoing schemes of the two departments of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj so that the constituency can be showcased as a role model.

"The aim is to achieve holistic development of the area through convergence of all our ongoing schemes in a concentrated way so that it becomes a model for others to come and see how it has been done and replicate the idea," Rural Development Secretary Rita Sharma told The Indian Express.

Senior Ministry officials have made several trips to Bhilwara to prepare the Joshi roadmap in consultation with district officials.

Sources said that immediately after taking charge of the Ministry, Joshi got on to the job — he had lost by just one vote in the last Assembly elections, a defeat that dashed his hopes of pipping Ashok Gehlot to the Chief Minister's chair. People close to him said he has still not given up his dream of becoming CM and monitors Rajasthan very closely. He continues to be state Congress president and chief of the Rajasthan Cricket Association.

Officials spent more than six months in detailed field surveys and identifying families for the schemes. These officials are now giving final touches to Joshi's plan. No extra funds are being used but the budget for the plan, sources said, has worked out to nearly Rs 300 crore.

"The planning is over. Now they are giving final touches to identification of families and the benchmark survey. The benchmark survey is crucial because only then will we be able to ascertain how it has raised income levels as a result of the convergence and interventions," Sharma said.

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