PMGSY – A Successful Journey so Far !!

Sandarbha Desk
Sandarbha Desk

What is Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY)?

  • It is a nationwide plan in India to develop, product and construct good all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages.
  • It was introduced in year 2000 by the then Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • It’s under the authority of the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • Previously fully funded by the central government recently it is announced that it will be funded by both centre and states in 60:40 ratio, since 14th finance commission provided for more devolution of tax pool to states.
  • The PMGSY is managed by the National Rural Roads Development Agency (NRRDA).
    It has resulted in new roads and upgrade of certain inter-village routes in India.

Achievements of PMGSY so far

  • So far 65% of the rural habitations have been connected with all-weather roads and remaining 35% will be completed by March, 2019.
  • States are now getting 42% funds from Central with regard to PMGSY while earlier they used to get 32%. This shows there is no paucity of funds for the project.
  • The budgetary provision for the PMGSY was around ₹ 9,000 crore in 2012-13, which has been enhanced to ₹ 19,000 crore in 2015-16.
  • Between 2011 and 2014, the average speed of road construction under the PMGSY was 70–75 km/day. From 2014 to 2016, the average speed of construction rose to 100 km/day. In the first 5 months of 2016, an average of 139 km of roads were constructed per day.
  • More than 4.81 lakh km of roads connecting 1.192 lakh habitations across the country were constructed under the PMGSY till June 30, 2016.
  • The states that have recorded the highest road construction 1. Madhya Pradesh 2. Rajasthan 3. Uttar Pradesh 4. Bihar 5. Odisha – are the ones which were the least connected at the turn of the century.

Problems and Obstacles

  • There have been few cases where there is a mismatch between the sanctioned road lengths and the actual length constructed.
  • Another obstacle this scheme has faced is despite being one of the successful and impactful in its effectiveness it has not attracted the attention of either mainstream ‘reformists’ or even MGNREGA-obsessed NGOs.
  • There are also some systematic flaws at ground level which need to be reviewed and eradicated.
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its report has disclosed instances of non-adherence to planning procedure in execution of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
  • Reports also show that ineligible habitations were covered under the programme while eligible habitations were either left out or incorrectly shown as connected.
  • Execution of works was deficient as instances of inefficient contract management, non-recovery of liquidated damages and mobilisation/machinery advances, etc., were observed.

Goals to achieve

  • The aim 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.
  4. in hill states, tribal and desert area villages with a population of 250 persons and above by 2007.
  • About 1.67 lakh Unconnected Habitations are eligible for coverage under the programme. This involves construction of about 3.71 lakh km. of roads for New Connectivity and 3.68 lakh km. under upgradation.
  • In a bid to check corruption in construction of rural roads, the Centre will do geo-satellite monitoring of the entire process of construction of rural roads in the country.
  • The Centre has instructed all states ensure certain minimum standards for construction of roads under the MGNREGA so that built structures can be upgraded later as per the PMGSY while serving better purpose in the interim.
  • The government is yet to link NREGA and PMGSY.
  • There is no doubt that PMGSY is one of the most successful schemes by the government not only in its effectiveness but also in implementing ground level work.
  • Simply put, PMGSY represents a rare public programme that qualifies as a success in terms of achieving both equity and efficiency objectives.
  • The scheme has made it possible for producers of perishable produce such as milk, fish and vegetables to sell these to a wider base of consumers.
  • Equally, it has enabled companies to distribute their products through rural retail stores.
  • As far as some of the deficiencies and flaws are concerned ministry may review the systemic flaws in the quality control system.
  • A mechanism may be devised to fix responsibility and accountability on the erring agencies and individuals and corrective action taken.
  • The concept of social audit may be incorporated in the programme guidelines.
  • There is no reason why a government scheme to augment rural incomes should not result in the creation of quality assets that will lead to long-term improvements and generation of livelihoods in rural areas.
  • Roads are at the heart of any effort to improve the economic outcomes of an area.
  • Properly constructed all-weather roads will ensure all-year round access to markets for the rural population.
  • With a little improvisation and some more advancements in the scheme surely PMGSY will help augment livelihoods.
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