Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the ambitious Rural-Urban (Rurban) mission, aimed at improving the nation’s basic infrastructure, at Dongargarh in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district on Sunday.
Starting his public address with a few words in the Chhattisgarhi dialect, Modi described the ways in which the ambitious Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Scheme would improve the quality of living in rural areas and reduce the population pressure on cities.
“When we talk of smart cities, why can’t we talk of smart villages? The villages in our country can get the facilities of urban areas without diluting their imbibed rural characteristic. Our vision is to create growth centres in Rurban clusters, and ensure the development of rural segments. This will make them gradually assume the shape of urban areas where modern infrastructure and educational facilities are available,” he said.
Modi said that the focus of the Rurban mission would be on improving infrastructural facilities such as power, shelter, roads, drinking water connections and drainage in rural areas, besides creating community assets such as schools, colleges and health centres – among other things.
The project aims to create village clusters with a population count of 25,000-60,000, and minimise rural migration to cities through skill development programmes and local economic activities. Around 300 such clusters of the kind will be created across the nation under this project, the Prime Minister said, adding that it would initially be taken up in four districts across the state – Rajnandgaon, Dhamtari, Kawardha and Bastar.
Announced by the BJP-led Centre last year, the Rurban scheme replaces the UPA government’s Pura (provision of urban amenities in rural areas) initiative.
Modi also inaugurated the Jan Aushadhi Centre project, aimed at supplying low-cost drugs to Chhattisgarh’s poor through 100 medical stores in the state. Taking the occasion to highlight his government’s concern for Dalits, tribals as well as the financially deprived, he said: “Our schemes are meant for them.”
Multi-layered security measures had been put in place for the Prime Minister’s visit to Raipur as well as Dongargarh in the Maoist-affected Rajnandgaon district. Police personnel maintained a strict vigil over an area of five square kilometres in the city, where Modi addressed the public for nearly half an hour.
After being received by governor Balramji Das Tandon and chief minister Raman Singh at the airport earlier in the day, Modi had laid the foundation stones for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (the Prime Minister’s housing scheme) and an electronic manufacturing cluster at Naya Raipur. “At present, the country needs houses for over five crore families,” he said after the event.
Over 40,000 EWS and LIG houses will be build in Naya Raipur for achieving the housing goal by 2022. The electronic manufacturing cluster is slated to be developed over 70 acres of land at an estimated cost of `90 crore.
The Prime Minister also launched the Chhattisgarh government’s Startup Policy 2016, which intends to promote innovations and entrepreneurship, attract investments to the state, facilitate economic development and create the avenues for employment.
After inaugurating the Rurban mission, Modi left for Bargarh in Odisha to attend a public rally.