Targets won’t be met, govt may drop Bharat Nirman tag | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Targets won’t be met, govt may drop Bharat Nirman tag

Bharat Nirman, the UPA government's popular tag to showcase its rural infrastructure development, may end from the next financial year. Chetan Chauhan reports.

delhi Updated: Sep 10, 2012 23:53 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Bharat Nirman, the UPA government's popular tag to showcase its rural infrastructure development, may end from the next financial year.

Country's top advisory body's the Planning Commission wants the government not to use Bharat Nirman to showcase its development programme for six rural infrastructure sectors fearing its adverse implications in the next general elections with high inflation and slower than expected economic growth.

Bharat Nirman started by UPA 1 was aimed at providing drinking water connection to every rural home by 2012, affordable housing, increasing rural tele-density to 40 % by 2014, building all weather roads to all villages having population of more than 1,000 people by 2012, provide electricity connection to all villages by 2012 and bring one crore additional hectares of land under assured irrigation by 2012.

The plan panel, in its analysis for the 12th five year-plan (2012-17), has found that there was still a long distance to travel before the targets listed under Bharat Nirman could be met.

As per the latest estimate, around 40 % of households in India do not have electricity connection and the Indian women now have to travel more to fetch drinking water.

"Not all villages having population more than 1,000 have all weather roads as promised," said a senior plan panel functionary.

The panel has reported dismal performance in providing additional agriculture land irrigation facility with an increase of just a few thousand hectares in the 11th plan (2007-2012).

The only area, where the UPA government would be meeting its target is increasing the rural tele-density by 40 %. The target of providing a broadband connection to 2.5 lakh panchayats by end of 2012 would also be missed.

The panel believes that the targets could not be met because of poor focus on implementation despite adequate availability of funds. The idea of have Bharat Nirman was floated by Prime Minister's Office to improve monitoring of key rural infrastructure sectors.

With that not happening and next general elections around the concerns, the panel has suggested that the government should revert back to the old system of focusing on individual schemes, rather than a cluster.

It wants the government to improve implementation of 16 flagship schemes, four of which are part of Bharat Nirman, based on the UPA government's promises in the manifesto. "There would be additional flow of funds for the 16 flagship schemes in the 12th plan," the functionary said.

The decision on whether Bharat Nirman will continue or not would be taken at the full planning commission meeting headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh scheduled for Saturday.