Current General Studies Magazine: "General Studies - II (Development Based Article)" August 2014

Current General Studies Magazine (August 2014)

General Studies - II (Development Based Article)


What is PURA?

Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA) is a strategy for rural development in India. This concept was given by former president Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and discussed in his book Target 3 Billion which he co-authored with Srijan Pal Singh Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) is a Central Sector scheme re-launched by Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India during remaining period of the XI Plan with support from Department of Economic Affairs and the technical assistance of Asian Development Bank. MoRD is implementing the PURA scheme under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework between Gram Panchayat(s) and private sector partners with active support of the state governments.

The scheme envisages twinning of rural infrastructure development and management with economic re-generation activities and is the first attempt at delivering a basket of infrastructure and amenities through PPP in the rural areas. It is an effort to provide a different framework for the implementation of rural infrastructure development schemes and harness private sector efficiencies in the management of assets and delivery of services. This would perhaps be the first such attempt at PPP in integrated rural infrastructure development and management in the world.

The scope of the Scheme would be to develop livelihood opportunities, urban amenities and infrastructure facilities to prescribe service levels and to be responsible for maintenance of the same for a period of ten years. The selected private partner would be required to provide amenities like water supply and sewerage, roads, drainage, solid waste management, street lighting, development of economic activity and skill development in specified cluster as part of the PURA Project. The selected private partner may also provide 'add-on' revenue-earning facilities such as village linked tourism, integrated rural hub, rural market, agri-common services centre and warehousing, any other rural-economy based project, etc in addition to the abovementioned amenities.

The leveraging of public funds with private capital and management expertise for creation and maintenance of rural infrastructure is the essence of the PURA Scheme. The Scheme envisages convergence of funding from various ongoing schemes of Central Government, private financing and capital grant, wherever required.

What is the objective of PURA Scheme?

The objectives of the PURA Scheme are provision of livelihood opportunities and urban amenities in rural areas to bridge the rural - urban divide. The Scheme envisages holistic and accelerated development of areas around a potential growth centre in a Gram Panchayat (or group of Gram Panchayats) in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework. Ministry of Rural Development (with support from Department of Economic Affairs and technical assistance of Asian Development Bank) intends to implement the PURA Scheme on a pilot basis under a PPP framework. The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) in consultation with State Government of Maharashtra has identified the Gram Panchyats of Dudhgaon, Kasabedigraj, Kavathepiran, Samdoli and Tung (specified cluster) in Miraj Block of Sangli District in the state of Maharashtra for the implementation of PURA scheme on Pilot basis.

What is the mission of PURA Scheme?

Holistic and accelerated development of compact areas around a potential growth centre in a Gram Panchayat (or a group of Gram Panchayats) through Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework for providing livelihood opportunities and urban amenities to improve the quality of life in rural areas.

What are the features of PURA scheme?

The objectives of PURA are proposed to be achieved under the framework of Public Private Partnership between Gram Panchayats and private sector partner with active state government support. Core funding shall be sourced from the Central Sector scheme of PURA and complemented by additional support through convergence of different Central Government schemes. The private sector shall also bring into the project its share of investment besides operational expertise. The scheme would be implemented and managed by the private sector on considerations of economic viability but designed in a manner whereby it is fully aligned with the overall objective of rural development.

What are the urban amenities proposed under PURA scheme?

An illustrative list of amenities and economic activities proposed to be provided under PURA are as follows:-

Amenities to be provided under MoRD Schemes Amenities to be provided under Non-MoRD Schemes Add-on Projects (Revenue earning, people centric projects)
  1. Water and Sewerage
  2. Construction and maintenance of Village Streets
  3. Drainage
  4. Solid Waste Management
  5. Skill Development
  6. Development of Economic Activities
  1. Village Street Lighting
  2. Telecom
  3. Electricity, etc.
  1. Villagelinked tourism
  2. Integrated Rural Hub, Rural Market.
  3. Agri – Common Services Centre, Warehousing, etc.
  4. Any other rural-economy based project

Need for restructured PURA scheme despite a number of other ongoing schemes?

It is expected that a scheme like PURA wherein all related schemes for rural infrastructure are being converged for a synchronized delivery for a period of 10 years in project mode shall maximize socio-economic impact. Besides, minimum development obligations by the private developer will enable improved quality of service delivery in the Panchayat area.

How are the Gram Panchayat(s) chosen for PURA?

In the pilot phase, the private developer is given flexibility to identify and select the Gram Panchayat for undertaking PURA projects based on their familiarity with the area or past experience of working at the grassroots level. However, as the consent of the concerned Panchayats and no objection from the state governments is mandatory, the selection would reflect the concurrence of all the stakeholders.

How have the Private Developers been chosen for implementation of PURA scheme?

The selection has been done through an open competitive technical bidding process with rigorous qualification and evaluation criteria. As these are pilot projects, therefore, there has been no financial bidding. In the pilot projects the bidders have been evaluated on their technical capability and assigned scores as per pre-approved evaluation methodology

What is the funding source for PURA scheme?

Funding for projects under PURA scheme would come from four sources:

1. MoRD schemes
2. non-MoRD schemes
3. private financing and
4. Capital Grant under PURA.

What is the concession period for PURA projects?

PURA has been designed with a length of concession period as 10 years with an additional 03 years for construction period.

Is PURA viable for a private developer?

It is expected that the additional revenue generating activities and the capital grant support shall successfully enable a viable PPP in the scheme. Mapping of different risks along with mitigation measures has been attempted. Along with emphasis upon rural development priorities, there shall be an effort to dovetail developers’ perspective on an economically viable project. The way project design has been done, the private developer should make requisite profit during the project life cycle of 10 years.

Is this model of PURA upscalable?

Through the implementation of proposed pilot projects, the unique features of this scheme would be tested on the ground and provide lessons for upscaling in future. Besides, the entire process shall help strengthen the institutional ability of a Gram Panchayat to undertake PPP and help pilot-test the viability of PPPs in rural infrastructure development. However, in terms of funding and management of PURA projects across all the 2,50,000 Panchayats in the country is concerned, it is up-scalable and financially affordable for the Government over a period of 5-10 years.

How shall the cost of a PURA project and the capital grant be determined?

Each individual PURA project cost and the eligible capital grant (subject to a maximum of 35% of project cost) shall be determined on the basis of a Concept Plan and Detailed Project Report that would be appraised and approved by an inter-Ministerial Empowered Committee for the purpose.

Question :

  1. The basis of providing urban amenities in rural areas (PURA) is rooted in establishing connectivity Comment. (200 words)

  2. What is PURA ? Discuss urban amenities proposed under PURA scheme. (200 words)

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