A restructured programme of Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), the pet scheme of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, was on Thursday cleared by the government for its implementation as a pilot project in the country.

“Union Cabinet has approved the restructured PURA scheme with a plan outlay of Rs 248 crore. The scheme will be implemented in public private partnership (PPP) mode,” Union Minister for Rural Development C.P. Joshi told reporters here.

Mr. Joshi said that seven to eight clusters will be identified during the 11th five year plan period and the pilot project will be implemented and managed by the private sector with the involvement of the respective panchayats.

The PURA scheme had been implemented on a pilot basis from 2004-05 for a period of three years in seven clusters — one each in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.

The framework of bringing together public funds and private capital for creation of infrastructure in rural areas and leveraging upon private sector expertise to manage and maintain the same during the concession period, forms the essence of the restructured PURA scheme, a Rural Development Ministry official said.

PURA proposes that urban infrastructure and services be provided in rural hubs to create economic opportunities outside cities, the official added.

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