National Rural Roads Development Agency




India has essentially a rural-oriented economy with 74 per cent of its population living in its villages. At the commencement of PMGSY in 2000, it was estimated that about 330,000 out of its 825,000 villages and habitations were without any all-weather road access. A majority of the poorly connected rural communities lie in ten States (Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal).


1.2.1 PMGSY: Programme Goals

Rural Road connectivity is a key component of rural development by promoting access to economic and social services and thereby generating increased agricultural incomes and productive employment opportunities. It is also a key ingredient in ensuring poverty reduction.

It was against this background of poor connectivity that the Prime Minister announced in 2000, a massive rural roads programme. The Prime Minister’s Rural Road Programme (Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, PMGSY) set a target of:

1.2.2. Noteworthy Features of the PMGSY

The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has been entrusted with the task of organising the programme. Some of the noteworthy features of the programme are:


It is estimated that the total investment required to meet the new connectivity targets is of the order of Rs 79,000 crores with another Rs. 53,000 crore required to upgrade existing rural roads to prescribed standards. In 1999, a one-rupee cess on every litre of diesel and petrol sold was imposed by the Government of India (GoI), and in 2000, a Central Road Fund Act was promulgated to direct the resources obtained through this cess to the improvement of National and State Highways as well as Rural Roads. By law, 50% of the diesel cess is required to be directed towards rural road development. This amounts to about Rs 2,500 crores (US $ 500 million) per year. An additional cess of 50 paise per litre of diesel sold, provided in the Budget for 2003-04, is likely to yield another Rs. 1,250 crores/year. Additional fund requirements are likely to be met through both internal and external borrowings.


The Indian Roads Congress (IRC) have brought out a Rural Roads Manual (RRM) (IRC: SP: 20-2002), which provides technical guidance on various aspects of rural road development. The requirements of PMGSY were specially kept in view when drafting this document. The NRRDA and MoRD have also issued several guidelines and instructions to the implementing agencies. It was, therefore, considered appropriate to bring out an Operations Manual (OM) in respect of PMGSY, to provide a systematic, comprehensive easily accessible set of operational instructions on the programme. Provisions of the Manual may be used by States for other rural roads also, with suitable adaptations. It is hoped that the OM will bring about clarity on various aspects of the programme, ensuring its timely and successful implementation. The contents of the Manual will be reviewed and revised according to the experiences gained during implementation.

The OM fully covers the PMGSY programme. It will be mandatory on the part of the State implementing agencies to follow the OM in every respect. Under the PMGSY, District Programme Implementation Units (DPIUs) have been set up. The OM is specifically targeted to these DPIUs. Since the OM embodies various instructions issued earlier, it supersedes such instructions. Where the OM refers to certain clauses of the IRC Rural Roads Manual, such clauses shall prevail. The Accounts Code and Works Manual of the States shall continue to be used, and if provisions in the OM are at variance with these, the attention of the NRRDA must be drawn and specific directions obtained.



1.6.1. New Connectivity

The primary objective of the PMGSY is to provide connectivity, by way of an all-weather road (defined in para 1.5 earlier) to the eligible unconnected habitations in rural areas generally so as to enable access to the nearest market centre, in such a way that:

The spirit and objective of PMGSY is to provide good all-weather road connectivity to the unconnected habitations. It must be ensured that the provision of New Connectivity (i.e. connecting unconnected habitations) should be given precedence over upgradation works in keeping with the objectives of the Programme.

1.6.2. Upgradation

Upgradation of existing rural roads is not central to the programme. However, the programme will permit upgradation of existing rural roads to the prescribed standards in those Districts where all habitations of the designated population size (para 1.6.1 above) have been provided all-weather connectivity. The provision for upgradation cannot exceed 20% of the State’s allocation as long as unconnected habitations still exist in the State. In other words, District-wise allocation is to be done on considerations of equity, but in such a way that new connectivity still gets priority by keeping a ceiling of 20 percent at the State level for upgradation works. Upgradation shall also be permitted in cases where the new link connects to a fair-weather road, which leads to the Market Centre. Only those rural roads are eligible for upgradation, which form part of the Core Network.

Upgradation shall cover the following types of works:

  1. Improving surface drainage and constructing all missing cross-drainage works to make the road all-weather.

  2. Improving the road pavement to standards required for the traffic, subject to a condition survey (see Chapter 3).

  3. Improving road geometrics to prescribed standards and improving road safety.

1.6.3. Integrated Development of Rural Road Network

Provision of all weather connectivity from habitation to the market centre is the basic feature of PMGSY. Thus, to provide assured and sustained all weather connectivity from habitation to the market centre, construction of new links wherever necessary and upgrading existing eligible through route, upto the market centre, would form the basic feature of project proposals under the PMGSY.

1.6.4. Works not Covered by PMGSY

The following works are not covered by PMGSY:


Operations Manual for Rural Roads