Government to ensure complete rural connectivity by 2019

New Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) The government on Tuesday said it would ensure complete rural connectivity under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) by March 2019, three years earlier than the earlier set target of 2022.

“The government has brought forward the target date by three years from 2022 to 2019 to achieve complete rural connectivity through all-weather roads under PMGSY,” Rural Development Minister Birender Singh said.

Singh said the government would increase annual allocation during 2015-16 by Rs.5,000 crore and with this the total central allocation to states would go up to Rs.15,100 crore. It was Rs.9,960 crore in 2014-15.

He said allocation of more funds would not only ensure that scheme targets are achieved by March 2019, much before the stipulated time of 2022, but also give a big boost for public investment in the rural sector, particularly rural infrastructure.

The PMGSY was launched in 2000 as a centrally sponsored scheme to provide single all-weather road connectivity to all eligible unconnected rural habitations.

In 15 years of implementation so far, a total of 1,12,550 habitations (63 percent) have been connected with roads.

“The states are yet to complete the roads to provide connectivity to about 37 percent of habitations as per the mandate of the scheme,” the ministry of rural development said in a statement.

Singh said his ministry is also considering to financially incentivise the states who achieve the targets allocated to them within the prescribed time frame.

He said the rural development ministry is working in collaboration with the states for preparing a time bound action plan to cover the outstanding liabilities for sanctioned work to meet the liabilities of all sanctioned work within 2016-17.

He said the enhanced level of central allocation to states for 2015-16 as well as the proposed allocation of the same amount for 2016-17 would help in providing connectivity to 29,000 eligible habitations in these two years which would be much higher than 13,424 habitations connected during 2012-13 and 2013-14.

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