Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s dream project of provide urban amenities in rural areas for which he had coined the acronym “PURA” is set to get a push, with pilot schemes planned under the public-private partnership mode.
The social inclusion programme aims at providing amenities like drinking water, street lights, education, healthcare and telecom services to the country’s rural areas and ensure its 626,000 villages become the development process.
“Initially, 8-10 projects we are planning to launch. These pilot projects will be in areas having population of 30,000-40,000 people,” Arvind Mayaram, additional secretary in the Ministry of Rural Development.
“Though the project will be implemented under public-private partnership mode, a large amount of capital expenditure will be borne by the government,” Mayaram told a seminar on social and financial inclusion here.
The scheme was started in 2006 when Kalam was President. But it could not be successful.
“Earlier, there was no provision for maintenance of services. Now, we will give the task of maintaining the services to private companies for 10 years. We have fixed a certain amount of money for this, which I cannot disclose now,” the additional secretary said.
“We want the standard of services to be at par with what is available in urban areas.”
The project aims at creating economic opportunities outside of cities by providing urban infrastructure and services in rural hubs, such as electricity to each household, roads, potable drinking water, telecom services, health and education.
The former President felt the scheme can also address the problem of rural poverty.
“Providing connectivity to village complexes is an urgent need to bridge the urban-rural divide, generate employment and enhance rural prosperity. The integrated methods, which will bring prosperity to rural India is through ‘PURA’,” Kalam had said.