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- Evaluate the socio-economic effects of enhanced road connectivity in rural areas. Discuss the obstacles encountered in achieving improved road infrastructure and propose measures to address these challenges.
Q: Evaluate the socio-economic effects of enhanced road connectivity in rural areas. Discuss the obstacles encountered in achieving improved road infrastructure and propose measures to address these challenges. (15 Marks, 250 Words)
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Rural connectivity is a key component of rural development in India. The construction of rural roads brings various socio-economic benefits to the rural areas and result in forming a strong backbone for the agro-based economy.
Positive Impacts of better road connectivity in rural areas are multidimensional:
It results in diversified livelihoods’ portfolio and improved quality of life for rural communities.
» Road connectivity leads to increase in the quality of inputs for agriculture in terms of better seeds, fertilizers, motorized agri-equipment, vehicles etc.
» Better connectivity to market also triggers increase in production of dairy, poultry and allied activities.
▫ Promotes local industries.
» Better access to raw material and market for the sale of finished products.
▫ Improved Employment opportunities
» Not only due to better agri-productivity and local industries, but also because of access to employment opportunities outside the village.
▫ Improved Health Access
» Due to easy access to health centres which becomes more crucial during emergency situation
▫ Improved educational opportunities.
» Better connectivity leads to easy accessibility for both school and higher education facilities.
» It is expected to contribute to increase in attendance and enrolment of primary and middle school.
▫ Better law and order
» Police or other armed forces agencies improve their mobility and thus can reach the crime scene quickly.
» This also creates more deterrence among criminals.
▫ Better implementation of government schemes/programs
» For e.g. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana which aims to provide LPG cylinders to BPL families will be more effective in those rural areas which are better connected.
▫ Enhanced Disaster Management
» Relief and rescue reaches more effectively
» Rehabilitation work can also be faster in better connected areas.
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)
▫ PMGSY was launched in the year 2000, as a centrally sponsored program and a one-time special intervention by Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).
▫ The primary objective of the programme was to provide.
§ Connectivity by way of all-weather roads to unconnected habitations of designated population size of more than 500 in plain areas and 250 in north-east, hill, tribal and desert areas as per the census 2001.
§ Upgradation of selected roads to provide full farm to market connectivity.
§ Connecting left wing affected areas Scheme:
§ To improve rural road connectivity in the left wing extremism affected districts from security angle , the Cabinet had in 2016 approved the centrally-sponsored “Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Affected Areas” scheme.
§ The Project will be implemented as a vertical under PMGSY to provide connectivity with necessary culverts and cross-drainage structures of 44 worst affected LWE districts and adjoining districts, critical from security and communication point of view.
§ Development of Major District Roads (MDRs): PMGSY guidelines don’t permit construction/upgradation of MDRs. However, keeping special circumstances of LWE area in view, MDRs would be taken up under the scheme as a special dispensation.
§ Government has taken up task of connecting habitations with more than 100 persons in LWE affected blocks under PMGSY.
Key challenges being faced by PMGSY:
- Adequate Maintenance of the existing 4.6 million km of road network is emerging as a major challenge.
▫ Many parts of the existing road network is either vulnerable or have already suffered damage from climate induced events such as floods, high rainfall, sudden cloud bursts and land-slides.
▫ Generating funds for road maintenance has become a crucial challenge.
b. Wide variation in unit costs among states leads to confusions and delays.
▫ Further, the cost is very high in some states which hinders the project
c. Delays in execution
▫ Adverse weather condition
▫ Issues in land acquisition
▫ Law and order problems
d. Non-availability of labor and material especially in remote areas
e. Lack of technically trained staff to execute and monitor road work
f. Providing public transport in these roads.
i. Climate vulnerability assessment during the design process to identify the critical locations affected by
floods, waterlogging, submergence, cloud bursts, storms, landslides, poor drainage etc.
ii. Special treatment for flood affected areas through adequate waterways and submersible roads. Use of
environmentally optimized road designs.
iii. For reducing the cost, the use of non-traditional but durable and less expensive material such as iron
and steel slag, fly ash and lime that are locally and easily available may be adopted.
iv. Proper Scheduling
▫ Schedule work after monsoon to avoid delays and cost over-runs.
v. Build Operate and Transfer Model can be considered to deal with the issue of lack of resources.
vi. Better Monitoring can be achieved by giving the responsibility of monitoring and undertaking minor maintenance to Gram Panchayat.
vii. Skill development of rural workforce should also focus on road construction and maintenance activities.