Importance of Infrastructure in Rural Development
27th Jan, 2021
- Rural development means sustained improvement in the well-being of rural people and a strategy designed to improve the economic and social life of a group of people thus the rural poor. Infrastructure is the backbone of any country. It plays a very important role in supporting nation's economic growth.
- Rural infrastructure is crucial for agriculture, agro-industries and poverty alleviation in the rural areas. The development of rural areas is slow due to improper and inadequate provisions of infrastructure as compared to urban areas.
- The government's effort is to reduce poverty and increase the quality of life of the rural poor by introducing rural infrastructure comprising transport including rural roads bridges; water and sanitation which includes irrigation (dams, channels, embankments, etc.), waste management, water supply etc.; communication including telecommunication and telecom services; and social and commercial infrastructure viz. housing, education, sports, hospitals, tourism and post-harvest storage infrastructure for agriculture.
Roads in Rural India
It was the first time since independence, on 25 December 2000, the Government of India had launched the Pradhan MantriGrameenSadakYojana (PMGSY) with the aim to provide all weather access to eligible unconnected habitations. It is a 100 percent centrally sponsored scheme (CSS) which cover only rural areas, and urban roads are excluded from the preview of this programme.
- PMGSY-I: Under PMGSY-I, the aim of the scheme was to provide access to the eligible unconnected habitations in the rural areas with a population of 500 persons and above (census 2001) in plain areas. In respect of Special Category States i.e., hilly and desert areas; the tribal areas, the objective is to connect eligible unconnected habitations with a population of 250 persons and above. For most intensive integrated action plan (IAP), blocks asidentified by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the unconnected habitations with population 100 and above are eligible to be covered under PMGSY-I.
- PMGSY-II: PMGSY-II aims to cover up-gradation of existing selected rural roads based on their economic potential and their role in facilitating the growth of rural market centres and rural hubs. Growth centres/rural hubs would provide markets, banking and other service facilities, enabling creation of self-employment and livelihood opportunities on an ongoing basis.
- PMGSY-III: The Phase-III envisages consolation of the existing rural road network by upgradation of existing through routes and major rural links that connects habitations to Grameen Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), higher secondary schools, and hospitals. This not only helps the farm production, but also yields many direct and indirect benefits such as minimising the spoilage of perishable goods like fresh fruits and vegetables and ensures adequate remunerative prices for them.
Affordable and easy access to high schools and higher secondary schools is the need of the hour. Education leads to multiple opportunities. Affordable and easily accessible health facilities is also the prime focus of the government for which road connectivity plays an important role. All-weather roads have shown a very positive correlation to improvement in health indicators.
DeendayalUpadhyaya Gram JyotiYojana (DDUGJY) launched in 2015 with two components:
- To separate agriculture and non-agriculture feeders facilitating judicious rostering of supply to agricultural and non-agricultural consumers in rural areas.
- Strengthening and augmentation of sub transmission and distribution infrastructure in rural areas, including metering of distribution transformers/feeders/consumers end.
Pradhan MantriUjjwalaYojana (PMUY)
- The scheme is providing clean cooking fuel to poor households, especially in the rural areas to provide deposit free LPG connections to the women of poor households.
- The scheme increases the usage of LPG and helped in reducing health disorders, air pollution and deforestation. Use of fossil fuels and conventional fuel like cow-dung, firewood etc. has serious implications on the health of the rural women and children.
- Under PMUY, cash assistance upto Rs.1600 is provided for releasing deposit free LPG connection.
Pradhan MantriSahajBijliHarGharYojana (Saubhagya)
- Under Saubhagya, free electricity connections to all households (both APL and poor families) in rural areas and poor families in urban areas will be provided.
- Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) has been designated as nodal agency.
- Provide Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) based standalone systemfor un-electrified households located in remote and inaccessible villages/habitations, where grid extension is not feasible or cost effective.
- To provide 20 lakh farmers for setting up stand-alone solar pumps.
- To enable farmers to set up solar power generation capacity on their fallow/ barren lands and to sell it to the grid would be operationalised.
- The scheme has the objective of increasing farmers° income, providing reliable source for irrigation and de-dieselise the farm sector, removing farmers' dependence on diesel and kerosene and linking pump sets to solar energy.
Social and Commercial Infrastructure
Pradhan MantriAwaasYojana (Gramin)
- To provide pucca houses to all rural homeless and those households living in kutcha and dilapidated houses.
- The Government of India has also aimed at providing a dignified life to the beneficiaries by providing basic amenities.
- The introduction of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in the programme has improved the financial inclusion in rural areas.
- Due to pucca house that can withstand all weather conditions, a considerable reduction in open defecation post-PMAY-G, usage of the toilet and floor cleaners, etc., have led to clean and hygienic conditions.
- There has been an improvement in the schooling of children of the households post-PMAY-G period in terms of both enrolment and performance at school owing to pucca house.
However, there is also a need for further strengthening of monitoring mechanism in order to make the scheme more efficient in terms of maintaining quality, saving time and resources, and at the same time, ensuring both tangible and intangible benefits to the beneficiaries.
Water and Sanitation
Jal Jeevan Mission (HarGhar Jal)
- It aims to provide safe and adequate piped water supply to all households by 2024.
- The programme also implements source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, such as recharge and reuse through grey water management, water conservation, rain water harvesting.
- The Jal Jeevan Mission will be based on a community approach to water and will include extensive Information, Education and communication as a key component of the mission.
Swachha Bharat Mission (Grameen)
- Under the mission SBMG, all villages, Gram Panchayats, Districts, States and Union Territories in India declared themselves "open-defecation free" (ODF) by 2nd October 2019.
- To ensure that the open defecation free behaviours are sustained, the Mission is moving towards the next Phase-II of SBMGe., ODF-Plus. It will reinforce ODF behaviours and focus on providing interventions for the safe management of solid and liquid waste in villages.
- The government's vision is that all public in at Gram Panchayat level such as Anganwadis, health and wellness centres, government schools, PDS outlets, post offices and police stations will be provided with digital connectivity.
- BharatNet: BharatNet is the world's largest rural broadband network project which is to provide broadband connectivity to all the 2.5 lakh gram panchayats (GPs) across India.
- Mapping of India's genetic landscape is critical for next generation medicine, agriculture and for bio-diversity management. To support this development, the government initiated national level Science Schemes, to create a comprehensive database
- The infrastructure schemes for the rural areas have improved the lives of the rural people in different ways and helped in reducing the poverty.
- Infrastructure has brought social and economic change among the rural households and empowered them to live their lives with dignity and safety with improved living standards.