Construction of rural roads in the first half of 2023-24 has reached the 12,000 km mark, crossing 100% of the target for the first time in many years. It also crossed the 6,403 km mark, surpassing the targeted 6,000 km construction for the June quarter.
- Ahead of the state assembly elections this year and the general elections in 2024, the government's flagship rural road development scheme, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), has made rapid progress.
- In this context, it is believed that the government is facing elections in many states and the Center both this year and next year.
- It is now expected that the budgetary amount under PMGSY will be exhausted before the end of the financial year, as more funds are being sought to complete large projects this year.
PMGSY achieved almost 41% target in FY 2022-23:
- During the last financial year, only about 41% of the targeted road construction could be completed under the scheme, which is much lower than the targeted performance of the last eight years.
- The pace of rural road construction is in contrast to the country's highway development programme, where the pace has slowed down over the years. Only 26% work has been completed in the first six months of the current financial year.
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY):
- Launch of the scheme: 25 December 2000
- The government had launched PMGSY as a centrally sponsored scheme to assist states, as part of its poverty reduction strategy.
- "Rural Roads" come under the State List under the Constitution.
- The primary objective of PMGSY is to provide connectivity through all-weather roads to all eligible unconnected habitations in rural areas, connecting unconnected habitations with a population of 1,000 and unconnected habitations with a population of 500 people.
- As a special distribution measure in the scheme, the Central Government bears 90% of the project cost in the North-Eastern and Himalayan States, while in other States the Central Government bears 60% of the cost.
Some important facts related to PMGSY:
- The PMGSY program is now in the third phase. This has led to construction of 745,980 km of roads out of the sanctioned 813,924 km in three phases of PMGSY and one phase of Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas (RCPLWEA).
- About 51,000 km of roads are yet to be constructed under this program by 2024-25.
- The government has allocated around ₹19,000 crore under the program in FY24, and aims to complete around 25,000 km of rural roads.
- According to a report by SBI Caps, while 99% of the sanctioned length has been completed in PMGSY-I and PMGSY-II, PMGSY-III and RCPLWEA are 60-70% complete.
- However, overall, the program is seeing steady progress this year.