(Premium) Gist of Kurukshetra Magazine: November 2012

Premium - Gist of Kurukshetra Magazine: November 2012


A Review of Bharat Nirman Programme:

Infrastructure is treated as engine of Growth and provides a basic framework for economic and social progress in a country like India. Physical infrastructure strengthens the economy, boosts investment, attracts prospective entrepreneur and helps alleviation of poverty and reduces unemployment incidences through numerous positive forward backward linkage affects of primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy. Similarly social infrastructure like drinking water supply, sanitation, education, health etc. Helps in improving quality of life of millions of rural inhabitants.

India’s economic reform measures of 1990s envisaged, inter alia, to improve infrastructure for enhancing the country’s productive capacity’s and for facilitating gradual reduction in the poverty and related deprivation. Around 83 crores (70 percent) of population are living in rural areas (census: 2011 provisional). The large magnitude of rural population and their prevailing socio-economic conditions and quality of life calls for all-round development in rural infrastructure to achieve the long cherished objective of equitable and inclusive growth whit social justice. During the last six decades of planning period, the country’s economists and planniers have identified the potential of a vibrant rural India to resolve issues of poverty and advocated for improvement and expansion of rural socio-economic infrastructure while the eleventh five year plan (2007-2012)noted direct and significant causal relation between the infrastructure and incidence of poverty in states, the approach to twelfth five year plan (2012-2017) laid renewed emphasis on creation of physical infrastructure like roads, railway, ports, airports, power and telecommunications.

Considering the importance of infrastructure in the sustenance of economic growth of our country, the Gol had launched a programme on rural infrastructure called ‘Bharat Nirman’ as a time-bound business plan for implementation in four years (2005-2009). The six components included under the programme were irrigation, drinking water, electrification, roads, housing, and rural telephony. This had also sought an active and transparent public and private partnership for immediate execution of various infrastructure related development projects with a mission mode. Although the Bharat Nirman registered considerable progress by 2009, non-achievement of goals set under the programme promoted the government to expand the timeline for completion of targeted activities to 2012. The present paper attempts to highlight the progress of each of the components and the policy outlook of the government for its successful completion within the targeted timeframe. Successful implementation of the Bharat Nirman initiatives and timely and adequate follow up action on each of its components will enable rural citizens of the country to utilize rural infrastructure for ensuring their basic amenities and raising their economic and social status. A considerable part of the total expenditure under the program is considered as development expenditure. Many projects aiming at enhancing rural infrastructure are also routed through the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development which is the apex financial body for agriculture and rural infrastructure.

It is expected that the investments made under the Bharat Nirman in phase I and II would enrich the rural economy and narrow down the gap between rural urban India by spreading growth benefits uniformly. To make this a reality, a synchronized approach is required to converge the infrastructure-building initiatives of Bharat Nirman components with various other development oriented programmes already in operation like programmes for alleviating poverty, generating gainful employment, ensuring social security, enhancing standard of health, hygiene, sanitation and education. Ministries/department Panchayati Raj, Expenditure, Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Water Resources, Agriculture, Information Technology and Land Resources etc. need to work out broad consensus for implementation of the main principles of these rural infrastructure building initiatives. Planning Commission need to move in a coordinated and harmonious manner with various development Minister and undertake periodic and close monitoring of the programme.

Energy Scenario in India

The International Energy Agency estimates India will add between 600 GW to 1200 GW of additional new power generation capacity before 2050. This added new capacity is equivalent to the 740 GW of total power generation capacity of European Union (EU-27) in 2005.

As the December 2011, India had an installed capacity of about 22.4 GW of renewal technologies-based electricity, exceeding the total installed electricity capacity in Austria by all technologies.

There are a few designated programmes, including renewable energy schemes that are now being implemented with some success.

Under Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidhyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) programme, 90% capital subsidy was provided for rural electrification infrastructure. The remaining 10% was loan assistance on soft terms by REC. The scheme, inter-alia, provided for funding of electrification of all un-electrified Below Poverty Line (BPL) households with100% capital subsidy. The scheme aimed at electrifying all un-electrified villages over a period of four years and provides access to electricity to all rural households. India has over 600,000 villages and hamlets put together, with over a 1000 Million households in the rural areas alone.

The National Solar Mission

The Government in November 2009 approved the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, which creates policy condition for quick renewable energy diffusion across the country. 20,000 MW of solar energy is to be deployed by 2012 through leveraging domestic and foreign investments, engaging in research and development, manufacturing and deployment to make this sector competitive internationally. In 2010, the Mission had gained investments in 200 MW of grid-connected solar power plans, with another 500 MW to be implemented soon.

Wind and Hydro Energy Expansion

The Ministry of Non-conventional energy Sources has introduced generation-based incentives, where investors receive a financial incentive per unit of electricity generated over ten years. This should create a level playing field between domestic and foreign investors, which should drive more investment in this area. The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) estimates conservatively that the wind energy capacity in India could be 24 GW by 2010 and 30.5 GW by 2030. If all planned policies are implemented and all current targets met, capacity could be as high as 40 GW in 2020 and 108 GW in 2030.

Presently, small hydro (up to 25 MW) has capacity of over 15,000 MW in India. About 300 MW per year (2,700 MW total) is being installed, with 70% of investments coming from the private sector. Hydro projects up to 25 MW capacities are termed as small hydro, and this energy stream has a potential of over 15,000 MW.

The aim is to double the current rate of growth including 500 MW per year in the next few years.

Status of ICT Infrastructure & And Services in Rural India


Improving broadband penetration is a key focus area for the Government and this is being addressed actively by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and the Department of IT (DIT). The National Telecom Policy 2012 lists the use of mobiles as an instrument of socio-economic empowerment for citizens as a mission statement. It sets targets of 70% and 100% rural teledensity by 2017 and 2020 respectively. It lays special emphasis on providing reliable and affordable broadband access to rural areas. It also target provision of high speed and high quality broadband access to all village panchayats through a combination of technologies by the year 2014 and progressively to all villages and habitations by 2020. The draft National Policy on IT 2011 speaks of electronic delivery of public services and quality. This includes mobile value added services (mVAS).