In order to provide good unrestricted road connectivity to villages, the Government of India launched Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) on 25thDec, 2000 as a Centrally Sponsored theme. This Bharat Nirman programme was introduced by the then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The main objective of the PMGSY is to provide connectivity, by way of an all-weather road (with necessary culverts and cross-drainage structures, which is operable throughout the year), to the eligible unconnected habitations in the rural areas with a population of 500 persons and above in plain areas. In respect of hill states (North-East, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand), the desert areas (known within the Desert Development Programme), the social group (Schedule V) areas and chosen social group and Backward Districts (as known by the Ministry of Home Affairs and coming up with Commission, the target would be to attach eligible unconnected habitations with a population of 250 persons and higher.
Why was PMGSY Started?
After Independence, roads except National Highways became the responsibility of the state governments involved; it shaped a part of the state Plans.
Owing to funds constraints the allocations for road development remained meagre compared to demand and particularly in case of village roads. Road Development did not receive due importance and from the planners as compared to other specific development activities that got higher priority. On the recommendations of National Rural Roads Development Committee, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was launched with a view to provide road connectivity in rural areas of the country. The programme envisages connecting all habitations with a population of 500 persons and higher than in plain areas and 250 persons and higher than in hill states, social group (Schedule V) areas and also the desert areas (as known in Desert Development Programme).
Recently, the programme pointers are amended to increase the advantages of the scheme to habitations having population of 250 persons and higher than within the districts known as LWE affected/implementation of Integrated Action set up as known by the Ministry of Home Affairs/Planning Commission. For technical and social control support within the implementation of the programme, National Rural Roads Development Agency (NRRDA) was established in 2002 under the Societies Registration Act - XXI of 1860.
Target of PMGSY
In this programme, 1,68, 268 habitations were eligible for coverage , out of that 31,804 habitations had been reported either connected below different schemes or not possible. Therefore, 1,36,464 habitations were targeted for providing road property under PMGSY. The programme also has an `Upgradation' component with a target to upgrade 3.75 lakh km. of existing rural roads (including 40per cent renewal of rural roads to be funded by the states) in order to ensure full farm to market connectivity. So, the target for Government of India in upgradation per se is 2,24,906 km.
The finances needed even for Phase-1 of this project area unit are to the tune of Rs 80,000 crore. It is necessary to adopt some innovative strategies of funding. It is needed to make a special centralised authority outside the regular department to execute this programme. This agency has complete freedom as regards methodology of its work.
Salient options of the PMGSY
Planning: The District Rural Roads are set up because the Core Network helps within the identification of the roads needed to attach the unconnected habitations to ensure basic access (single unrestricted road connectivity) to any or all the habitations. These plans are placed before the Panchayati dominion establishments for approval.
Project approach: The road works are projected every year in time specific manner. Technical standards: The roads under the PMGSY are designed and executed as per the standards laid down by the Indian Roads Congress.
Tendering: The roads are tendered in packages of Re 1 to 5 crore, to draw in competent contractors with requisite instrumentality.
Quality control: A three-tier quality control system has been designed to implement the standard of the road works. All the states are requested to enlist the services of a state level federal agency to verify the standard of the roads. The National Rural Roads Development Agency engages senior technical personnel as National Quality Monitors to examine the road works.
Maintenance: The roads created under the PMGSY are maintained by the Panchayati Raj establishments.
PMGSY lays special stress on quality of road works. Consequently, Rural Roads Manual (IRC SP 20:2002) has been prescribed because the Technical Manual for the programme. The standard of works is decided in reference to the specifications prescribed under the Book of Specifications (BoS) set by the Indian Roads Congress (IRC) for Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).
Since rural roads is a state subject and state agencies are executing the programme, making certain the standard of road work is primarily the responsibility of the state governments. A three- tier Quality Management Mechanism is envisaged so as to confirm the requisite quality assurance.
First Tier of Quality Mechanism: In-house internal control to confirm the implementation of quality standards through finishing up obligatory tests by Contractor under the superintendence of the district level Programme Implementing Unit (PIU). The superintendence by department officers, additionally forms a part of this tier itself and also the PIU is needed to record the check ends up in internal control Registers.
The Second Tier of Quality Mechanism: Independent Quality observation System at the State Level examines that the first tier of quality control System is achieving its intended objectives. The states are needed to appoint a senior skilled State Quality Coordinator (SQC) who is empowered to coordinate and supervise each tier of quality mechanism, through the SRRDA.
Third Tier of Quality Control Mechanism: It functions as independent Quality Audit at National Level. The selected retired professionals from the state and Central Agencies termed as National Quality Monitors (NQMs), perform independent inspection of the works on systemic randomised basis. The essential objective of this tier of the Quality Mechanism is to examine that the First and Second Tier of quality control is achieving its intended objectives, the contracts are being managed professionally and systemic issues in Quality and Execution are addressed.
- To frame appropriate policy/action plan for the effective and optimum result-oriented implementation of PMGSY keeping in view the broad policies/ guidelines and the budgetary resources made available.
- To interact with state governments and other bodies with a view to take concerted action for effective and meaningful implementation of PMGSY/Rural Road Component of Bharat Nirman in an effective and convergent manner.
- To seek sufficient budgetary support for implementation of PMGSY/ Rural Road Component and release the funds to the state governments.
- Meetings of the Performance Review Committee for periodic reviews of PMGSY.
- Monitoring the progress of PMGSY for providing rural connectivity.
- The National Rural Roads Development Agency (NRRDA) is responsible for providing Operational and Management support to the programme. State Rural Roads Development Agencies (SRRDAs) are created by all the states at state level as autonomous agencies for implementation of PMGSY programme. The mandate and the performance review are carried out by the states on a defined charter, which may be as per the decision of the state. In three states, NEAs (Nominated Executing Agencies) have also been engaged for execution of PMGSY programme.
- At the District level, the Programme is co-ordinated and implemented through one or more dedicated Programme Implementation Units (PIUs).