Ralegan Siddhi – A sustainable village model for the country

Around 60% of the rural population in India lives in primitive conditions. Most of them have no access to electricity, necessary education and health services. Modern technology has not touched these people even after 60 years of independence. Rural poverty causes large scale migration to cities which further lead to serious urban problems. This is the picture of present scenario but the picture has another side too. Yes, the answer is Ralegan Siddhi.

“The World Bank Group has concluded that the village of Ralegan Siddhi was transformed from a highly degraded village ecosystem in a semi-arid region of extreme poverty to one of the richest in the country. The Ralegan Siddhi example, now 25 years old, by demonstrating that it is possible to rebuild natural capital in partnership with the local economy, is a model for the rest of the country”

The man behind the change

Anna Hazare
Anna Hazare

Anna Hazare, by heart a Gandhian has changed the extremely degraded village of population around 2500 into liveable paradise for the poor villagers.  Previously this village was extremely degraded and unsustainable. It was characterized by poor farming practices which led to low productivity of land. People had few jobs and were engaged into illegal distilling of alcohol.   There were large scale migrations, ill health and alcohol driven violence especially against women.

Today you can see the improved view of Ralegan Siddhi. Increased agricultural productivity shows the importance of sustainable agriculture.  Thanks to the scientific farming practices suggested by Anna to revolutionize the previous situation.  Hunger drives anything in a man’s mind and Anna fulfilled it first. Now the village is self sufficient in food grains and other necessary agricultural produce.  Now people can easily spend their time after daily routine in community services.  There is a sense of community and sharing among all the people. Ralegan has shows the world how the whole system can stand on its own legs from scrap. It not only demonstrates what village people can do when they take control of their own development but also shows their concern to the environment by evolving sustainable practices.

Anna’s biggest support to the People’s participation

Anna Hazare_Model Village_Community involvement
Community involvement

Governments have a lot of schemes in village development through improved agricultural practices, watershed development, use of renewable energy etc. But all these novel things remains on paper only as the cost involved, required manpower and true intention of local representative along with government officials lacks in the implementation.  Anna considered all these factors and turned them into positive side by community involvement in all government or self supported developmental projects. He recognized the importance of rainwater harvesting, watershed development and renewable energy. (Read more about water scarcity and  India)

The people of Ralegan Siddhi took their turn and maximized their involvement in community projects by investing thousands of hours in developmental activity. Common interest triggered human muscle power into prosperity of the village and now it has become a best example of watershed management in the country.

Water shed
Water shed project

Anna always says, The dream of India as a strong nation will not be realized without self-reliant, self-sufficient villages, this can be achieved only though social commitment & involvement of the common man.”

We at GreenCleanGuide have decided to make Anna’s model a source of inspiration to us and guide us in our futures endeavours at spreading environmental awareness and promote sustainable practices. Would you like to join us?


Locate Ralegan Siddhi here;

Location of Ralegaon Siddhi_Img_Src_FAO


Information and pictures source : http://www.annahazare.org/ ,  FAO

Read more about The Story of highly demanded pesticide – Endosulfan in India

Off grid renewable energy solution can help in electrifying remote villages. Read more about ‘Off grid solar applications in Manipur’

20 thoughts on “Ralegan Siddhi – A sustainable village model for the country

  1. I understand the Author’s feeling about village’s sustainable development but I want to bring one thing in your notice that, the village is only sustainabe in terms of environment and not in social justice. The integration of Dalits (Un touchables/Lower cast people) into an ideal village has two components in Ralegan – One is to assume that they were always there to perform some duties and necessary services (Like cleaning, leather work, etc low grade work) and that their usefulness justifies their existence in the present.

    What the hell is this? That means if any Dalit want to study and improve his/her living status he cannot do it. Becasue it is against the rule set by Anna Hazare. There is no equality in the village within Dalits and higher cast people. Can we say it is sustainable development? There is always postitive and negative side of the development and this is negative side which I mentioned here.

    I think this article can justify some identified things here http://kafila.org/2011/04/14/the-making-of-an-authority-anna-hazare-in-ralegan-siddhi/

  2. The article was written with an environment centric viewpoint. I have gone through the article mentioned by you in detail and to be fair, it does cover a holistic view.

    The article mentions how Anna has been trying to eradicate untouchability and I quote, “Since the beginning of his work, Anna has been particularly emphasising the removal of untouchability and discrimination on caste basis meted out to people, who are popularly referred to as Harijans here. There have been several efforts on his part to do away with the ban on Harijans’ entry into the temple and to allow them to take water from the same well. They are associated with committees, formed to run the village affairs, and take part in several village functions and festivals. Occasionally, they cook or serve food to all the villagers and even perform puja. The village once repaid the bank a loan of Rs. 75,000, taken by Dalit families.”

    Can you disagree that urban societies treat dalits with much less empathy?

    Read another article here which mentions how a dalit is going to perform first pooja in Anna’s village- http://www.tehelka.com/story_main50.asp?filename=Ws010911ANNA.asp

    No society is perfect and there is no denying that there is always scope for improvement but let us give the man his due.

  3. Thanks for the explaination and the link provided in your recent comment. Mr. Puskar this is what you have read on our biased media (online or print media) which no more fourth pillar of our democracy now. You only know what you are programmed to think. Where are you from? have you ever came to Ralegan Siddhi once? Shouting from one place is easy but practical situations may be different.

    I appreciate what is mentoned in the post i.e. Environemntal perspepctive. But I am not agree to use the word ‘Sustainable’ for this village as the sustainability lies on three parameters 1) Social, 2) Economical, and 3) Environemntal. Out of these 2 and 3 can be considered to be said appropriate for the village but cannot apply the point nuber 1 i.e. Social as the village don’t have equality among ‘Dalits (lower caste people)’ and the higher cast poople.

  4. I can only respond to specific queries.
    I haven’t got the time for verbal duels or for discussions concerning political ramifications of Mr. Hazare’s actions.

    The post is on Ralegan village’s model and I can’t understand why people wish to deflect arguments from it.

  5. Annaji, you just remain as a crusader for Anti Corruption movement and kindly do not break your Mind for any political out fit. You should know that without any Political Party, neither you nor any one can get the Jan Lokpal bill passed in the Parliament and implemented in this Country. Respect your age and act accordingly. Too much strain is not good for your Health.

  6. Anna Hazare made more efforts with commitment with a result oriented plans. India has enough resources but we need at least one Anna Hazare for each district.

    1. We just need the inspiration provided by Dr Anna Hazare –

      see how another village learnt from model village Ralegan Siddhi and itself became a model of sustainable development –


      The village experienced a turnaround after 1989, Popatrao Baguji Pawar, the only postgraduate in the village contested for the post of gram panchayat sarpanch

      – Its development plan was based on village Ralegan Siddhi, 35 km away, also in the same district, turned around by Anna Hazare.

      Hiware Bazar regenerated its natural resources — forests, watershed and soil — led by a strong village body. It had a role model in the district–Ralegan Siddhi, the village Anna Hazare turned around. Now Hiware Bazar is in turn an exemplar for the whole of Ahmednagar district.

  7. Very nice & very Important information. Thanks sir…. but I request you sir please, this information in Mrathi & other languages…. Mujhe angreji aati hai lekin puri bhasha mai Samajh nahi pata sir isiliye mai aapse binati karta hun ki, aap ye mahatvpurn jankari hame aany bhashaon me bhi uplabadh karaje de….. My name is Ashok Munjajee Dhapse.

  8. can u plz give me any type of confirmation about worldbank’s conclusion of ralegan as a model village that 2 b authenticated that I want for my research work.m working in modelvillage project

  9. Hi,
    We are happy that some good momentum & initiative is being lauded by many.
    Team Advantage is in business of world class renewable energy solutions, which also has a STP which can save thousand litres of waste water for agriculture or reflushing application.
    Its swarth & parmartha and we are keen to work in this direction with NGO’s or any village which intends to go to next level.
    Thanks & regards,
    Major Ravi [Retd.]

  10. Dear patriotic friends,
    I respect and admire the hard work and the great achievements of Sri. Anna Hazare. Ralegan Siddhi may not be perfect; but Sri. Anna Hazare made there a GREAT TRANSFORMATION.

    I was an NRI for over 30 years. When I realised that India and my native state Kerala is not developing fast enough, I searched for a means for the FAST DEVELOPMENT of my state and my motherland India. I have collected some VERY VALUABLE AND USEFUL INFORMATION as to how any panchayat, municipality or city in India can be developed. I have compiled the info into a PowerPoint Slideshow and will be happy to email the google drive link to anyone interested. I have sent it to many and still doing it. Anyone interested please email me: a(dot)karammel(at)yahoo(dot)com.

    If possible, I shall put the link here for everyone interested; I have to search, find and to create a link and then put it here or in another comment soon!
    With Best Wishes,
    Abraham Karammel

  11. Here is the link to my POWER-POINT SLIDE-SHOW on 2 Super-models and more:
    It has all the info needed for any panchayat, municipality or city in India to bring FAST SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

    If the link does not work, contact me at: a(dot)karammel(at)yahoo(dot)com
    With best wishes,
    Abraham Karammel

  12. has somebody evaluated the work done at Ralegan siddhi as applied environmental geotechnology research work . I think it would certainly qualify for award for technology development with most wide and deep social impact

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