- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its approval for continuation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana-I and II (PMGSY-I and II) upto September, 2022 for completion of balance road and bridge works.
- The CCEA also approved continuation of Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas (RCPLWEA) upto March, 2023.
- Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in the year 2000 to provide connectivity to eligible unconnected habitations of 500+ in plain areas and 250+ in North-East and Himalayan states as per census 2001.
- The Scheme also included a component of upgradation of existing rural roads for those districts where all the eligible habitations had been saturated.
It was approved by the Cabinet in May, 2013, envisaged consolidation of 50,000 Km of existing rural road network.
- It was launched in the year 2019 for consolidation of 1,25,000 Km existing through routes and major rural links connecting habitations, inter-alia, to Gramin Agricultural Markets, Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals.
- The implementation period of the scheme is upto March, 2025.
- Various independent impact evaluation studies carried out on PMGSY have concluded that the scheme has had a positive impact on agriculture, health, education, urbanization and employment generation, etc.
- Rural Connectivity is a development imperative.
- All weather road connectivity to balance habitations would unlock the economic potential of the connected habitations.
- Upgradation of the existing rural roads would improve the overall efficiency of the road network as a provider of transportation services for people, goods and services.
- The construction/upgradation of roads would generate both direct and indirect employment to the local populace.
- Lack of dedicated funds.
- Limited involvement of the Panchayati Raj Institutions.
- Inadequate execution and contracting capacity.
- Less working season and difficult terrain particularly in Hill States.
- Scarcity of the construction materials.
- Security concerns particularly in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas.
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.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT