(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) PMGSY - Changing Nature of India’s Rural Roads
PMGSY - Changing Nature of India’s Rural Roads
- The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) roods ore known for their construction quality and durability. To ensure quality in the construction of rural roads, vigorous quality control measures are followed, backed by independent quality checks and measurements. The inbuilt clause of five years of maintenance within the construction contract also helped in the maintenance of the newly created assets.
- Since all the eligible rural habitations have been connected, it is required now to strengthen and widen its ambit further to include major link routes which connect habitations to agricultural and rural markets, higher secondary schools and hospitals/health centres.
Need of Rural Connectivity
- Market access and business sustainability arc positively correlated with connectivity. The modern-day rural transformation Is largely driven by the improvements In the rural-urban transportation and connectivity to markets. The occupations of rural areas will become viable, profitable and acceptable only when there Is an all-weather rural connectivity. Improved transportation networks help in connecting markets for smooth and timely transactions of commodities and services. Poor road connectivity not only limits market access of marketable products and services but also reduces competitive advantages. The benefits of enhanced agriculture productivity are often wasted due to lack of proper market linkages.
- A good road infrastructure connects the rural areas with the nearby urban or semi-urban areas and ensures a quick flow of services and goods to meet emerging demands. It ensures a competitive advantage and helps in improving the inventory, storage, supply chain, and operations management. The competitive advantage is measured in terms of efficient supply of natural resources, significant reduction of harmful elements, creation of diversified and sector-specific jobs, improved standards of community health and education and Improved quality of life of people.
Rural Road Growth:
- The country has the second-largest road network in the world.
- Rural roads are constructed through various schemes/ interventions of multiple institutions viz. Panchayati Raj Institutions, (Zila Parishad, Panchayat Samiti, Gram Panchayat), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and State Public Works Departments.
- Roads in the rural sector are the core of rural development. Roads have helped in promoting access to economic and social services, thereby generating increased agricultural productivity, non-agriculture employment as well as non-agricultural productivity.
PMGSY and All-Weather Rural Connectivity
- ‘Rural Roads’ is a State subject. The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), as a part of the poverty reduction strategy of the Government of India, was implemented on 25 December 2000.
- This was conceived as a one-time special intervention to provide road connectivity by way of a single all-weather road to the eligible unconnected habitations as per core-network with a population size of 500+ in plain areas.
Use of Green Technology
PMGSY promotes the use of new and green technology in the process of rural road construction. Locally available materials are used in road construction activities to promote cost-effective and fast construction.
Some of the techniques and technologies used under PMGSY are as follows.
- Use of cell filled concrete to ensure flexible concrete and crack-free surface.
- Use of paneled cement concrete to guarantee durability.
- Use of roller compacted concrete pavement to enable simple, fast and economical construction with longer service life.
- Use of cement stabilisation to improve soil strength, stability and to reduce, maintenance cost.
- Use of Terrazyme to reduce the construction costs while increasing the overall quality of road structures; it is easy to use, not harmful to the environment or its users and it guarantees
a better and longer-lasting road.
- Cold mix technology uses cold mix binders (where heating of bitumen is not required) resulting in saving on fuel and the environment.
- Use of ‘Green Technologies’ and nonconventional materials like waste plastic, cold mix, geo-textiles, fly-ash, iron copper slag, etc. in rural roads to ensure reuse of wastes.
Issues and Challenges:
- Rural Connectivity has remained a critical antecedent in the socio-economic development drives of rural people. Connectivity ensures access to amenities viz. education, health, marketing, etc.
- There had been skewed and less than potential development of the rural road network in the country. Some States provided cent percent connectivity while some others did not have enough financial resources at their disposal and consequently connectivity remained at low levels.
- There were also problems of inadequate funds for maintenance, upgradation and rehabilitation of existing rural roads. A network approach and provision of sustainable accessibility with assured maintenance were virtually absent.
- Rural roads are being constructed by Panchayats in the villages with finance commission assistance provided to them through the Finance Commission awards. Various development programmes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA) and PMGSY encourage rightful investment in road assets in rural areas. It was PMGSY that relied on standardised and strict quality benchmarking, monitoring and maintenance processes and procedures.
- This quality-benchmarked rural roads programme with its due emphasis on the superiority of construction has successfully expanded the connectivity in a systematic manner leading to the revitalisation of the rural economy and improved quality of rural life. The quality performance of rural roads relies on the following.
- Discrepancies in District Rural Roads Plans (DRRPs) need to be removed and scientifically collected information on the population of habitations, connectivity status, road inventory with maps and a GIS empowered database should be ensured. Such state-specific information base on rural roads would help covering unconnected but eligible habitations under PMGSY.
- Detailed project reports should be prepared by adopting laid-down procedures. Road works need to be completed with required number of bridges and cross drainage structures. The establishment of a vibrant monitoring and accountability mechanism is the need of the hour to check cases of undue advantage to road contractors and eliminate poor execution of such works.
- To ensure appropriate fund management within a road project, the States need to ensure adequate fund provisions and to ensure that their share is released as per the timelines and is not diverted to other schemes. The project should conform to the quality norms.
- There should also be a provision through which the States should commit to the maintenance of the road asset for five more years after the initial project tenure.
- Keeping in view the fund requirements and fund position for maintenance, it may be necessary to link the Finance Commission grant-in-aid with PMGSY work execution and maintenance.
- PMGSY has a time-tested quality control, monitoring and evaluation mechanism. As per the given standards of the quality benchmarks, the government should map the deficiencies to fix responsibility and accountability on agencies responsible for quality control at the local, state and national level.
- Infrastructure provides the basic outline for economic and social progress of a country. The initiatives of the government for building rural infrastructure and the related central sponsored schemes envisage the enhancement of the socio-economic status of rural people. A considerable part of the total expenditure under such a programme is considered as development or capital expenditure.
- Many projects aiming at enhancing rural infrastructure including rural roads and bridge construction projects are also routed through the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) - the apex financial body for agriculture and rural infrastructure.