The National Book Trust (NBT) is planning to launch Panchayat Pustak Mela with the aim of organising regular book fairs in rural areas across the country. The main objective behind introducing this new scheme at the panchayat level is to encourage the growth of reading habit in villages. The NBT plans to kick-start the process with a book fair across the panchayat bodies in the Maoist-hit areas of Chhattisgarh.
The organisation recently brought out eight books in dialects used in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, in Devnagri script. The NBT already has a stock of books that is likely to connect with the rural audience of the region. All the books showcased at the fairs will be published by the NBT in regional languages, Hindi and English. The books on display would showcase the lives of freedom fighters and heroes and there would also be children’s books.
The body hopes that the books, especially the ones that are close to the people of the region and the ones that have inspiring national themes, can help align the local adivasis there with the mainstream. The main aim is to instil a sense of pride among rural youth. To make the scheme a success, the body looks to collaborate with the state governments and also invite Panchayat representatives to these book fairs. The NBT will also be extending a request to the state governments to provide libraries at the panchayat level.