In an bid to transform rural areas to economically, socially and physically sustainable, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today approved the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) with an outlay of Rs 5142.08 crores.
The Mission will aim at development of rural growth clusters which would have potential for growth, in all States and UTs, which would trigger overall development in the region. These clusters would be developed by provisioning of economic activities, developing skills and local entrepreneurship and providing infrastructure amenities. The Mission will thus develop a cluster of Smart Villages.
These clusters would be well delineated areas with planned layouts prepared following the planning norms which would be duly notified by the States and UTs. These plans would be finally integrated with the district plans and master plans.
The State Governments would identify the clusters in accordance with the framework for implementation prepared by the Ministry of Rural Development. The clusters will be geographically contiguous Gram Panchayats with a population of about 25,000 to 50,000 in plain and coastal areas and a population of 5,000 to 15,000 in desert, hilly or tribal areas. There would be a separate approach for selection of clusters in the tribal and non-tribal districts. As far as practicable, clusters of villages would follow administrative convergence units of Gram Panchayats.
For the selection of clusters, the Ministry of Rural Development will adopt a process of cluster selection which will involve an objective analysis at the district, sub district and village level, of the demography, economy, tourism and pilgrimage significance and transportation corridor impact. While the ministry, following this analysis, would provide a suggestive list of sub districts to the states, the state governments would then select the clusters following a set of indicated principles included in the framework for implementation.
The mission aims to create 300 such Rurban growth clusters over the next 3 years, across the country. The funding for Rurban Clusters will be through various schemes of the government converged into the cluster. The SPMRM will provide an additional funding support of upto 30 percent of the project cost per cluster as Critical Gap Funding (CGF) as Central share to enable development of such Rurban clusters.
To ensure an optimum level of development, fourteen components have been suggested as desirable for the cluster, which would include; skill development training linked to economic activities, agro processing, agri services, storage and warehousing, digital literacy, sanitation, provision of piped water supply, solid and liquid waste management, village streets and drains, street lights, fully equipped mobile health unit, upgrading schools, higher education facilities, inter-village road connectivity, citizen service centres- for electronic delivery of citizen centric services, e-gram connectivity, public transport, LPG gas connections among other amenities.