Saturday, 17 May 2014 06:19


Rural Road Connectivity is not only a key component of Rural Development by promoting access to economic and social services and thereby generating increased agricultural incomes and productive employment opportunities in India, it is also as a result, a key ingredient in ensuring sustainable poverty reduction. Notwithstanding the efforts made, over the years, at the State and Central levels, through different Programmes, about 40% of the Habitations in the country are still not connected by All-weather roads. It is well known that even where connectivity has been provided, the roads constructed are of such quality (due to poor construction or maintenance) that they cannot always be categorized as All-weather roads. Till the year 2000 around 30% of its population or 300 million people lacked access to all-weather roads.

Thus in 2005, the Government of India launched its National Rural Roads Program (Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana or PMGSY) to improve rural connectivity in a systematic manner. Until the end of 2010, the program had added 300,000 kms of rural roads, and improved connectivity to over 73,000 habitations.

The goal was to provide roads to all villages (1) with a population of 1000 persons and above by 2003, (2) with a population of 500 persons and above by 2007, (3) in hill states, tribal and desert area villages with a population of 500 persons and above by 2003, and (4) in hill states, tribal and desert area villages with a population of 250 persons and above by 2007.

‘Rural Roads’ being a State subject, PMGSY works are executed by State Agencies.  The State Governments have identified the Nodal Department as well as the Executing Agencies for execution of the Programme in the States.  Most States have set up State Rural Road Development Agencies (SRRDA) for the purpose, which also serve to coordinate the execution of the Programme in the field.

In order to provide a firm technical base for the programme, Principal Technical Agencies (IIT level institutions) and State Technical Agencies (REC level institutions) have been selected to provide technical advice to State Governments and assist NRRDA in technical scrutiny, training, R&D project activities.

In order to implement scheme properly, an Online Management & Monitoring System or OMMS GIS system was developed to identify targets and monitor progress. It is developed by e-governance department of CDAC Pune. The system manages and monitors all the phases of road development right from its proposal mode to road completion. The OMMAS system also has separate module to track the expenses made on each road. Based on the data entered by state and district officers, OMMAS generates detailed reports which are viewable in citizens section. OMMAS incorporates advanced features like E-payment, Password protected PDF files, Interactive Reports etc.

The World Bank commenced its support to the PMGSY in September 2004 with a $ 400 million Rural Roads Project (2004 -2012). The project supported the program in building roads in select districts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

In December 2010, the World Bank approved a further $1.5 billion for the program to continue improving connectivity, especially in the economically weaker and hilly states. The new project will benefit an estimated 6.1 million people in Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh where it aims to provide 91% connectivity on average by constructing 24,200 km of all-weather roads.

The role played by Grameen Sadak Yojana in development of rural economy

Grameen sadak yojana envisages connecting all habitations with a population of 500 persons and above (250 persons and above in respect of hill States, the tribal and the desert areas) through good all-weather roads thus this will enhance movement between the village and town.

Thus this will enhance the pace of rural development as follows:

• New business opportunities will emerge due to better transport.

• Transportation cost of agricultural goods will get reduce.

• This will increase connectivity to schools and hospitals.

• This will provide employment to poor and unemployed people.

• This will increase penetration of government assistance in inaccessible areas too.

• This will enhance the better implementation of government schemes.

From the rough, mountainous terrain of Himachal Pradesh to the dry, rugged landscape of Rajasthan, new roads are revitalizing the rural economy, raising incomes, and improving the quality of rural life. Farmers now find it easier to take their produce to market in time, school enrollment is on the rise, and families' access to health care has improved. The Rural Roads Project has also brought about a paradigm shift in the way rural roads are mapped, designed, monitored, and built.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 May 2014 06:50