About Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana:
- The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) is a nationwide plan in India to provide good all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages.
- This is centrally sponsored scheme The Union Government bears 90% of the project cost in respect of projects sanctioned under the scheme in North-Eastern and Himalayan States, whereas for other states the Union Government bears 60% of the cost.
- Scheme was introduced in 2000 by the then-prime minister of India Late Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- The Assam Tribune has reported that the scheme has started to change the lifestyle of many villagers as it has resulted in new roads and upgrade of certain inter-village routes in Manipur
- Eligibility: Unconnected habitations of designated population size (500+ in plain areas and 250+ in North-Eastern States, Himalayan States, Deserts and Tribal Areas as per 2001 census) in the core network for uplifting the socio-economic condition of the rural population.
- An Unconnected Habitation is one with a population of designated size located at a distance of at least 500 metres or more (1.5 km of path distance in case of Hills) from an All-weather road or a connected Habitation.
- Core Network: It is that minimal Network of roads (routes) that is essential to provide Basic access to essential social and economic services to all eligible habitations in the selected areas through at least single all-weather road connectivity.
- The Rural Roads constructed under the PMGSY will be in accordance with the provision of the Indian Roads Congress (IRC).
- IRC is the Apex Body of Highway Engineers in the country.
PMGSY – Phase I
- PMGSY – Phase I was launched in December, 2000 as a 100 % centrally sponsored scheme.
- Under the scheme, 1,35,436 habitations were targeted for providing road connectivity and 3.68 lakh km. for upgradation of existing rural roads in order to ensure full farm to market connectivity.
PMGSY – Phase II
- The Government of India subsequently launched PMGSY-II in 2013 for upgradation of 50,000 Kms of existing rural road network to improve its overall efficiency.
- While the ongoing PMGSY – I continued, under PMGSY phase II, the roads already built for village connectivity was to be upgraded to enhance rural infrastructure.
- The cost was shared between the centre and the states/UTs.
PMGSY – Phase III
- Phase III was approved by the Cabinet during July 2019.
- It gives priorities to facilities like:
- Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs)
- GrAMs are retail agricultural markets in close proximity to the farm gate, that promote and service a more efficient transaction of the farmers’ produce.
- Higher Secondary Schools and
- It gives priorities to facilities like:
Under the PMGSY-III Scheme, it is proposed to consolidate 1,25,000 Km road length in the States. The duration of the scheme is 2019-20 to 2024-25.
The mandate of PMGSY has been subsequently widened to include new interventions. PMGSY- II was launched in the year 2013, with a target to upgrade 50,000 Kms of the existing rural road network to improve its overall efficiency as a provider of transportation services for people, goods and services. Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas (RCPLWEA) was launched in the year 2016 for construction/upgradation of strategically important roads chosen in the 44 worst affected LWE districts and adjoining districts in the 9 States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. PMGSY-III was launched in the year 2019 for
The main features of PMGSY are decentralized and evidence based planning, standards and specifications as per Indian Road Congress (IRC) and Rural Roads Manual, dedicated implementation mechanism at central, state and district level, scrutiny of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) at multiple levels, strong IT backbone for monitoring and implementation of the programme, three-tier quality management system, unbroken flow of funds, inbuilt mechanism for consultation with public representatives at planning, selection of roads and monitoring stages, etc.
PMGSY is an important scheme for the development of rural India. Its benefits and significance are discussed in the following points.
- Rural road connectivity is very important for two main reasons. One, it is a key component of rural development by enhancing access to social and economic services thereby increasing farm incomes and employment opportunities to people. Secondly, it is a key ingredient in poverty alleviation.
- The development of roads, apart from national highways, is the responsibility of the state governments. Because of inadequate funds and diverted focus of planners, rural roads hardly received any attention. This scheme seeks to fill this gap and take the fruits of development to remote corners of the country.
- Increased connectivity will help the rural population avail opportunities of employment, health, education and various other social welfare schemes provided by the government. Good, dependable roads translate to easier and faster connectivity from farm to market, timely movement of perishable products from village to market centres, and provide an incentive to industry to move to the hinterland among many other such benefits.
- Connectivity also encourages government functionaries such as health workers, teachers, and agriculture extension workers to willingly move to the villages to offer their services. This ultimately contributes to prosperity, and allows economies of scale and sustainable employment.
Challenges of PMGSY
Some of the challenges facing the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana are discussed below.
- Paucity of funds: The maintenance of the roads built will need spending of ₹75,000-80,000 crore over a five-year period starting 2020-21 according to the Ministry of Rural Development. States will need to spend ₹11,500 crore in the current fiscal year and the required amount would rise to over ₹19,000 crore by 2024-25. Given that the Central Government’s revenues are under stress, it is difficult to predict whether a good enough grant of funds would be transferred to the states.
- According to the report of the Standing Committee on Rural Development (Chair: Dr. P Venugopal) that submitted its report on ‘Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana’ in March 2017, frequent transfers of trained and experienced staff in State Rural Roads Development Agencies hampers the effectiveness of monitoring the scheme. The report also noted that many projects under the scheme were lagging behind due to-
- inadequate execution and contracting capacity, and
- unavailability of land and forest clearances.
Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Area (RCPLWEA)
This was a special vertical under the PMGSY launched in 2016 with a view to providing all-weather road connectivity to hitherto unconnected rural areas that were critical from a security and communications point of view. More than 5000 km long roads have been sanctioned under this scheme for 44 districts. Out of these, 35 are districts that have been severely affected by left-wing extremist (LWE) terror.
- Rural Road Connectivity is a key component of Rural Development as it promotes access to economic and social services.
- Further, it helps in generating increased agricultural incomes and productive employment opportunities in India.
- In this regard, the government can consider engagement with international financial institutions to construct basic rural infrastructure.
|Central road fund
The Central Road Fund (CRF) is a non-lapsable fund created under Central Road Fund Act 2000. It is procured out of the out of cess/tax imposed by the Union Government on the consumption of Petrol and Diesel.
CRF should be used to develop and maintain National Highways, State roads (that have economic importance with inter-state connectivity), rural roads, railway under/over bridges etc., and national waterways (waterways from 2017 onwards only).