Prime Minister Narendra Modi is gearing up to launch the latest social sector programme: to bridge the gap between the cities and the villages on infrastructure.
The Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban (rural-urban) mission was announced last year to replace the UPA government’s PURA (provision of urban amenities in rural areas) initiative. The programme, lifted straight out of Gujarat, will focus on creating community assets and improving basic infrastructure such as roads, shelter, power and drinking water in rural belts.
The PM has called a meeting on Thursday morning to discuss the finer details of the Rs 6,000 crore Rurban programme. “This is the first meeting called by PM exclusively on Rurban,” pointed out an official. Sources added that the scheme will spend more than `500 crore in the current financial year.
Last month, the PM launched two insurance schemes and a pension scheme, primarily aimed at the workers in the vast unorganised sector. The original Rurban programme was launched in Gujarat in 2012 during Modi’s tenure as chief minister.
Thursday’s meeting may see formation of a dedicated institutional set-up in the form of Rurban Cell under panchayat/rural development department.
At the micro level, the scheme will ensure building of internal roads, sewerage and drainage infrastructure. For larger infrastructure, like quality schools and colleges, health centres, etc, the government will adopt a cluster development strategy. Skill development will be a core area of the Rurban mission.
Announcing the programme in a joint session of Parliament in July last year, President Pranab Mukherjee said it would “provide urban amenities to rural areas while preserving the ethos of the villages”.