Though the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) scheme was launched by the NDA, the programme turned into a reality only during the UPA regime, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday.
The minister was responding to a demand of the BJP to name the Centre’s rural road scheme after former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
“It is true that the PMGSY scheme was started in 2000, when Vajpayee was the prime minister. But it started with a kavita (poem). It was the responsibility of the UPA to turn the poem into a reality,” Ramesh quipped.
“There was not much allocation in the budgets between 2000 and 2006. PMGSY was hardly allocated Rs. 3,000-4,000 crore. In 2012-13 budget, the allocation is Rs. 24,000 crore,” Ramesh said.
BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad replied: “Yes, Vajpayee was a poet at heart but he did implement the scheme.”
Meanwhile, the cabinet has approved the expansion of the PMGSY to provide all-weather roads to tribal habitations with a population of 100 and above in 82 naxal-hit districts.