Rural Connectivity Current Affairs
Government has inked $110 million loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) to upgrade all-weather rural roads in Madhya Pradesh under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). It is second tranche of $500 million Second Rural Connectivity Investment Programme for India approved by ADB in December 2017.
Rural Connectivity Investment Programme
The overall Second Rural Connectivity Investment Programme is aimed at improving rural connectivity, safe and efficient access to livelihood and socio-economic opportunities for communities in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal. It plans to upgrade about 12,000 km rural roads across the five states. Tranche 1 loan of $250 million is currently under implementation upgrading over 6,000 km roads.
The Tranche 2 of the loan will provide continued assistance to PMGSY by upgrading rural roads in Madhya Pradesh. This will support the government’s long term goal to achieve inclusive economic growth in rural India. It will also improve mobility for self-employment and livelihood opportunities in rural areas by improving access to district centres. It will also support government’s drive for innovative approaches to reduce costs, conserve non-renewable natural resources and promote use of waste materials in rural road construction.
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
ADB is multilateral lending agency based in Manila, Philippines. It was established on 19 December 1966. It aims to reduce poverty in Asia and the Pacific region through inclusive environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. It provides finance to both sovereign countries as well as to private parties. It provides hard loans to middle-income countries and soft loans to poorer countries.
ADB has 67 members – 48 from Asia-Pacific region including India and is collectively owned by these 67 members. The non-Asia Pacific region members are only developed countries. Most of ADB’s lending is concentrated in 5 operational areas viz. Education; Environment, Climate Change & Disaster Management, Finance Sector Development, Regional Cooperation & Integration, and Private sector lending.
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved continuation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) beyond 12th Five Year Plan period ((2012–2017)). It will help in connecting 38,412 habitations at estimated cost of Rs. 84,934 crore. For this, fund sharing pattern between centre and states will be same (Thus, central government share will be Rs 54,900 crore and states’ share is Rs 30,034 crore).
Initially targets of PMGSY were to be achieved by March 2022, however, sunset date of achievement of PMGSY-I was pre-poned to March, 2019, with enhanced fund allocation and changed funding pattern i.e. in ratio of 60:40 between Centre and State for all States except for 8 North Eastern and 3 Himalayan States (Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir) for which it is 90:10.
PMGSY-II and habitations under identified LWE blocks (100-249 population) covered by March 2020. Under, PMGSY-II, against target length of 50,000 km works of upgradation almost 32,100 km road length have been sanctioned in 13 states, which have transited to PMGSY-II. 12,000 km road length has been completed up to March, 2018 against the sanctions issued.
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)
The scheme was launched on 25 December 2000. It aims to provide single all-weather road connectivity to all eligible unconnected habitations in rural areas with population of 500 persons and above (in plain areas) and 250 persons and above (in hilly states, desert areas, tribal areas and selected tribal and backward districts). Union Ministry of Rural Development is nodal ministry for implementation of Scheme.
For this scheme, 75 paise per litre has been earmarked out of cess levied on high speed diesel. It considers habitation as unit for providing connectivity and not revenue village. The scheme encourages use of green technologies and non-conventional materials (like waste plastic, geo-textiles, fly-ash, iron and copper slag etc) for constructing rural roads.