14 Nov : Union Rural Development Minister Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has re-affirmed the approach of Government in ensuring the optimum use of financial provisions for the eradication of poverty and upliftment of Rural masses. Addressing media persons here today he said keeping in view the targets of his ministry, the provision of strict monitoring and vigilance has been made to ensure timely, proper and sufficient expenditure of funds.
Highlighting the achievements, the Minister said during the last five years (2004-09) the total budget of the Ministry of Rural Development to Rs.1,93,715 crore. Whereas during 1999-2004 it was only Rs.72,263 crore. It would be appropriate to note that compared to the total 10th five year plan budget provision of Rs.76,000 crore, the current financial year (2008-09) only has been provided with an equal amount. The efficient fiscal management has made it possible and this amount has is being consumed for poverty eradication, wage payment, employment generation, enhancement in self-employment and strengthening of rural infrastructure. Dr. Singh said during the last five years the construction of rural roads has shot up on a very high note and so far road length of 3.5 lakh km. have been sanctioned at a construction cost of Rs.88,700 crore and a total of 1.34 lakh km. all weather road have been constructed in this period as compared to 51,511 km. road length constructed during the four year period of 2004-2004.
Under Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) during the five year span of 2004-09 109.27 rural houses have been constructed as compared to 61.77 lakh houses of 199-2004 period.
The Wage Employment Programmes like Sampoorna Grammen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY), Food for Work Scheme, National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NRELP) generated 259.96 persondays employment during 2000-2004 period wheweas the 2004-09 period has yielded 636 core persons day employment generation.
Under the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) the 1999-2004 period saw a release of Rs. 3,532 crore helping 46,00,650 Swarozgaries whereas during the last five years (2004-2009) Rs.6,254 crore have been released and 65,86,641 Swarozgaries have been provided necessary assistance.
Under the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) the task of providing clean drinking water in the rural areas saw an allotment of Rs.8,423 crore during the 2000-2004 period where as during the last five years Rs.25,390 crore have been released for this purpose.
The Total Sanitation Campaign has witnessed remarkable improvement after enhancing the resources. Compared to year 2004 when only 27% Rural families were having toilet facilities now this number has increased to 59%. During the last five years (2004-09) 385.44 lakh families have been provided individual toilets and in 8.44 lakh schools/Aanganwadis toilets have been made. However, the 2001-2004 period saw only 75 lakh individual toilets and toilet facility in only 99 thousand schools/aanganwadis.
Under the Integrated Wasteland Development Programme (IWDP) Rs.2,422 crore were released during the 2000-2004 period whereas during the last five years (2004-2009) Rs.5800 crore have been released. A total of 116 crore hectare wasteland was improved during the four year period of 2000-04 compared to the improvement of 150 crore hectare wasteland during the last five years (2004-2009).
Under the National Social Assistance Programme the UPA Government is providing pension to 147 lakh beneficiaries under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) where as only 87 lakh beneficiaries were given assistance during the previous regime.
The Minister said the provision of 100 days of employment on a legal basis to desirous families is a unique initiative taken on national as well as international level because even in foreign countries there is so far no such provision. Through Guaranteed wage employment and by creating permanent employment generating assets and conserving the vast natural resources, the government has changed the face of rural India. Under NREGA more than 30 lakh works have ensured the conservation of natural resources, the ground water table has gone up and more than 3.5 crore families have got ensured employment. He said financial inclusion of rural families has gone up and nearly 6 crore bank/post office accounts have been opened resulting in the financial and social empowerment of rural families. The NREGA implementation has also resulted in the strengthening of various institutions like banks, post offices, insurance companies and the panchayati raj institutions. For an effective grievance redressal mechanism a National Toll Free helpline 1800110707 has been provided. All the states/UTs have been advised to provide insurance cover to NREGA beneficiary families under the Janshri Bima Yojana/Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana.
Of the six components of Bharat Nirman Programme the three components og Rural Roads, Rural Housing and Rural Drinking Water Supply a provision of Rs. 85,000 crore was made for the 2005-2009 period. So far the Ministry of Rural Development has used Rs.61,204 crore and by the year end the investment of 13,492.35 crore is proposed. Under the rural road component Rs.48,000 crore were envisaged for the Bharat Nirman Programme period in the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) of which Rs.28,444 crore have been invested abd Rs. 8,579 crore are proposed to be invested by the year end.To ensure high quality in rural roads a three tier quality control management has been put in place.
To ensure transparency and participation of beneficiaries under the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) implementation process the government has changed the policy and a provision for permanent wait list for IAY beneficiaries in the rural areas. Under it, it will be mandatory for every Panchayat area to prepare a permanent list of IAY beneficiaries in which the names of poorest of poor person will be at the top followed by other persons in the decreasing level of poverty will be included. This list will also be painted on the Panchayat notice boards, will be given a booklet shape and will also be placed compulsorily on the website. In order to match with cost escalation of construction material the per unit construction cost has also been enhanced w.e.f. 1st April, 2008 from Rs.25,000 to Rs.35,000 in plain areas and from Rs.27,500 to Rs.38,500 in remote/hill areas. Moreover, to provide toilets in these houses necessarily under the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) for the houses built under the IAY another Rs.2200 will be provided. Electricity in these houses will be provided under the Rajeev Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana in coordination with the Ministry of Power. The draft for National Housing Policy has also been prepared.
Under the Rural Water Supply component of Bharat Nirman as compared to the targeted investment of 25,300 crore so far Rs.19,501 crore have been spent and Rs.2,998.35 crore are planned to be spent by the year end.A decentralized, demand based approach Swajaldhara has been adopted so as to ensure the participation of rural masses in the management, operation and maintenance of rural water supply systems.
Under the Total Sanitation Campaign to attain the Millenium Development Goals by 2015 wide spread chages have been incorporated. Compared to the earlier provisions of Rs.625 per unit construction cost of toilets now for plain areas a provision of Rs. 2,500 and for hill/remote areas a provision of Rs.3000 has been made. The provision of ‘Nirmal Gram Puraskar’ made for promoting and motivating the concerned persons like the PRIs and NGOs under the TSC has resulted in a mass campaign. During 2007-08 more than 1.20 crore families wer provided with toilet facilities. So far more than 59% rural habitations are equipped with toilet facilities.
The Government has also extended the National Social Assistance Programme and has converted it to the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS). Now all the persons of 65 years and above age from rural BPL families will be provided Old Age Pension under this scheme. The Central share in this scheme is Rs.200 per person.
Under the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) more than 50% poor rural families have been included in the Self Help Group network. For this skill development, training and capacity building provisions are being made. So far a total of 29.16 SHGs have been made and it is targeted to make 50 lakh SHGs by the end of 11th Five year Plan. To strengthen the SHG movement it has been decided to make their federation at village,block, district, state and at national level. More than 50,000 village and block level federations have been established.
The Rural Development and Self employment raining Institutes (RUDSETI) are being run taking the help of Banking System. At present 122 such institutes are functioning in the country. It is planned to implement this model throughout the country in the 11th Plan and one such institute should be opened at every district headquarter. For the marketing of Rural products the ministry has planned to develop permanent market along with the organization of SARAS fairs. At present 50 permanent stalls at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, Permanent market art Rajeev Gandhi Crafts Bhawan at Baba Khadag Singh Marg, New Delhi, 50 permanent Stalls at Dilli Haat, Pitampura have been developed . The foundation stone for SARAS haat has been lid in Jasola, Delhi in December,2008. Markets at district,state and other big cities in thje country are also under construction. So far more than 100 SARAS fairs have been organized benefitting more than 21,000 rural craftsman. In this year alone more than 24 SARAS fairs have been organized.
To increase the crop enhancement under the rain fed agriculture and to step up the land development programmes the Government has integrated various Area Development Programmes in to the Integrated Wasteland Development Programme (IWDP) which is now running effectively.
Under the National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP) the digitization of land revenue maps, computerization of land records, integration of written and local data, setting up of Tehsil and State level data centres,Computerisation of registration by interconnecting revenue offices along with the interconnecting of Deputy-Regisrar Offices have been planned in next 8 years across the country. It will help in solving land disputes, provide safety to farmers and will result in the increase in the government revenue.
The Government has adopted a unique policy in which provision has been made to step up the pace of industrial development as well as provide effective rehabilitation to affected rural families. Rehabilitation before displacement and provision of ensuring relief are the special features of this policy. This policy has been appreciated not only at the national; level but also at the international level.