National Rural Infrastructure Development Agency

Research Areas

Chapter I - Introduction

Background

India has about 5.89 lakh villages of various population sizes, inhabitant by about 75 percent of its populations, scattered all over its 3.29 million square kilometer area. But, absence of a well knit road network has caused lack of basic facilities such as education, medical assistance, banking, recreational, employment potentiality, inward transport of agriculture inputs and consumer goods, outward transportation of agriculture and forestry products, live stocks and their products in and/or around most of the villages, thereby dragging a large section of country's rural population including tribal below the property line and keeping them away from the main stream of national development.

A result of this has been large scale exodus of rural population to towns, cities etc., with consequential socio-stresses and law and order problems in the urban areas. In order to prevent this situation the Government of India has embarked on several Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation programmes in the rural areas of the country. However, for achieving their objectives, village roads are a must, because they are the only economical transport means to the villages situated in far away remote areas and difficult terrains. Rural roads provide basic inputs for all-round socio-economic development of the rural areas. The construction of roads brings various socio-economic benefits to the rural areas and result in forming a strong backbone for the agro-based economy. The importance of the rural roads has been emphasized in various plan documents also.

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)

On the 15th August 2000, the Prime Minister announced a Centrally Sponsored Scheme called the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana with the objective of connecting, within next three years, every village that has a population of more than 1000 through good All-weather roads and every village of more than 500 persons similarly connected by the year 2007. The Scheme was launched on 25th December 2000.

Objectives of PMGSY

The objective of the Government is to provide Road Connectivity, through good All-weather roads, to all Rural Habitations with a population of more than 500 persons by the year 2007 (end of Tenth Plan period). In the process, all unconnected Habitations having a population of more than 1000 persons would be covered in the next three years. Accordingly, for the year 2000-2001, the Programme would cover Habitations having a population of more than 1000 persons. Where a State has no uncovered Habitation of this population size, smaller Habitations may also be covered, subject to the minimum population size being 500. In case of hilly/desert tracts, this may not be less than 250.

PMGSY in Assam

Assam State which is consisting of 23 Districts and a population of 266,38,407 , 88% of which is inhabitant over approximately 25000 villages spread over an area of 78438 Sq. kms is one of the most disadvantaged States in terms of infrastructure development in the country. Almost 20% of its geographical area is hilly, it gets very heavy rain fall and recurring floods cause extensive damage to the road infrastructure. Agriculture is the main livelihood of the majority of the population of the State where almost 75% of the total work force is taking agro-based activities for livelihood. Other than agriculture, a very small percentage of the work force is engaged in livestock, forestry and fishery etc. while few more are engaged in mining and manufacturing processes. Rural roads network has been in a very bad shape in the State. Poor kutcha roads or even no roads to a large number of habitations have restricted communities from participating in the benefits of development and have caused acute socio-economic isolation.

A programme like PMGSY was an urgent need of the rural people of the State. Under the programme 1574.97 kms of roads have been approved, which covers 2589 habitations and for which Rs 304.92 Crore has been released. The State Rural development department is the nodal department for the programme and the State PWD is the executing agency.

Study of Socio-Economic Impact of PMGSY

The Ministry of Rural Development decided to undertake a Rapid assessment of the socio-economic impact of PMGSY on the habitations/villages connected so far under PMGSY. The study aimed at assessing that, up to what extent the rural roads under PMGSY have been able to achieve:

  • Socio-economic transformation.
  • Breaking the isolation of village communities.
  • Elimination of the disparity between rural and urban population and bringing about urban - rural integration.sparity between rural and urban population and bringing about urban – rural integration.

It also was aimed at finding out the benefits of such roads in terms of providing easy access during all seasons to markets, education facilities, health services and increase in employment opportunities and productivity of such areas.

Methodology and Study Areas

An approach which aimed at providing an overall picture of the impacts of the rural roads on the lives of the people of the habitations connected was adopted. Although some of the impacts were quantified, emphasis was also placed on comprehensive reasoning and 'plausible inferences'. The methodology blended both qualitative and quantitative data with focus on feedback from discussions with the beneficiaries and relevant stakeholders. The four techniques used include:

  • desk review of relevant documents, literature and other study reports;
  • focus group discussions with villagers including women and destitute;
  • household interviews with women beneficiaries; and
  • Semi-structured interviews around key topics with selected villagers, local leaders and PWD officials.

Selection of districts was done on the basis of terms of reference provided by the Ministry for selection of the sample. Barpeta, Nagaon and Morigaon districts were selected and three completed roads where at least one of the connected habitations had a population of more than 1000 were selected in each district.

S.No District Block Name of the Road Habitations Population
1. Barpeta Bajali Simlabazar to Odalguri Simla Odalguri 2975 2068
2. Barpeta Gobardhana NH 31 to Jaipur bazar Satbhanitup Dhupguri 3254 1658
3. Barpeta Bhabhanipur Dangarkuchi to Kaljar Borbala Betbari 1651 992
4. Nagaon Bajiagaon N.H.37 to Tekeliputa Kamuamari Paghali 2761 2085
5. Nagaon Laokhowa Lailuri to Uttar Bhumaraguri Lailuri Bhumaraguri 5310 710
6. Nagaon Berhampur Nij Gomothagaon to Berhampur Nij gomotha Maj putani 1122 1000
7. Morigaon Lahorighat N.H. 37 to Morigaon- Nagaon PWD Road. Bengalidhara Naramari-II 2789 374
8. Morigaon Mayong Dandua Sapmari to Bapughat Road Sapmari Haldibari 1011 3000
9. Morigaon Mayong Pachatia Damal Road Pachatia Markalang 4500 1005

Table 1.5.1 Selected Roads/Habitations for Impact Assessment

Basic parameters were identified to measure the impact of the roads. Focused group discussions were conducted in the connected habitations. The number of participants in each village FGDs is given in table below.

S.No District Block Name of the Road Habitations No. of Partcipants
1. Barpeta Bajali Simlabazar to Odalguri Simla 40
Odalguri 40
2. Barpeta Gobardhana NH 31 to Jaipur bazar Satbhanitup 42
Dhupguri 46
3. Barpeta Bhabhanipur Dangarkuchi to Kaljar Borbala 41
Betbari 40
4. Nagaon Bajiagaon N.H.37 to Tekeliputa Kamuamari 42
Paghali 43
5. Nagaon Laokhowa Lailuri to Uttar Bhumaraguri Lailuri 40
Bhumaraguri 41
6. Nagaon Berhampur Nij Gomothagaon to Berhampur Nij gomotha 40
Maj putani 46
7. Morigaon Lahorighat N.H. 37 to Morigaon- Nagaon PWD Road. Bengalidhara 40
Naramari-II 40
8. Morigaon Mayong Dandua Sapmari to Bapughat Road Sapmari 42
Haldibari 40
9. Morigaon Mayong Pachatia Damal Road Pachatia 48
Markalang 40

Table 1.5.2 Participants Size in the FGDs

A village level schedule was also canvassed to capture the pre and post status of the village/community. Focused group discussions and in-depth interviews were also arranged in all the selected habitations. In each focus group discussions representation of all the sections of the village was ensured and all the interviews were conducted in the local language under the overall guidance of our experts. The study was conducted during Jan-Feb'2004.

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