The Government has brought forward its plans to complete the rural road connectivity under PMGSY by 2019 from 2022.
Union Minister for Rural Development Birender Singh said that this accelerated implementation will be achieved by providing enhanced financial allocation and through a modified funding pattern in the Scheme.
He said, the government has also decided to increase the annual allocation during year 2015-16 by Rs 5,000 crore and with this the total Central allocation to States would be Rs. 15,100 crore, while it was Rs 9,960 crore during 2014-15. It may be noted that the Central release to the States for PMGSY works was Rs.5, 196 crore in 2013-14 and Rs. 4,313 crore in 2012-13.
PMGSY was launched in year 2000 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with the objective to provide single all-weather road connectivity to all eligible unconnected rural habitations. Under PMGSY-I, 1,78,184 unconnected habitations were identified. However, in 15 years of implementation so far, 1,12,550 habitations (63%) have been connected with PMGSY roads. The States are yet to complete the roads to provide connectivity to about 37% of habitations as per the mandate of the Scheme.
Singh said that higher allocation of funds will ensure that Scheme targets are achieved by March, 2019 much before the stipulated time of 2022. He said, this decision of the government will give a big boost for public investment in the rural sector particularly rural infrastructure.
He said that his Ministry is also considering to financially incentivise the States who achieve the targets allocated to them, within the prescribed time frame. This incentive could be used for periodic maintenance expenditure by the States.