Women in rural India will have their say in deciding the road projects, a modification in the guidelines of centre's flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) said.
The new rule makes it mandatory for all rural road projects to take into account the opinions/objections of women members of the panchayats and women self help groups.
According to exiting rule, before a rural road is sanctioned, the government has to take into confidence the head of the local panchayat who along with the junior engineer, and patwari survey the entire stretch of the road. Called 'transect walk', the idea behind the survey is to take along the local community for which the road is being built.
Proposed changes in the rules say the 'transect walk' would include the women members of the panchayat and also the member of the women self help groups.
"As party of the PMGSY process all states may include a simple non formal transect walk to be organized by the assistant engineer at the time of the preparation of the detailed project report (DPR). The panchayat pradhan, local patwari, the junior engineer, women self help groups and women PRI members would participate," says the new guidelines issued on July 22.
The proposed change is part of the gender budgeting exercise by the rural development ministry which implements the PMGSY.
"In course of discussion on gender budgeting annual action plan in the ministry we decided that some modification in the existing rule could ensure gender involvement," a ministry official said.
Gender budgeting was formally adopted by central ministries and state governments based in 2007-08 on the recommendations of an expert group formed by finance ministry.
The objective of the exercise was to influence and effect a change in the ministry's policies, programmes in a way that could tackle gender imbalances, promote gender equality and development.