Government makes higher allocations for rural roads and water sectors

The government has reaffirmed its commitment to a better and more energetic Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, which has had a massive impact in improving access for rural population.

Initiated during the NDA-I under the stewardship of then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, the scheme has been provided a sum of Rs14, 389 crore in the General Budget 2014-15.

While renewing its commitment to providing wage and self-employment opportunity in rural areas, finance minister  Arun Jaitley said that wage employment would be provided under MNREGA through works that were more productive, asset creating and substantially linked to agriculture and allied activities.

Ajeevika, the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), aims to eliminate rural poverty through sustainable livelihood options and under the mission, Women SHGs were provided bank loans at 4 per cent on prompt repayment in 150 districts and at 7 per cent in all other districts. According to Jaitley, government had decided to extend the provision of bank loans for women SHGs at 4 per cent in 100 districts. Jaitley had also proposed to set up a ''Start Up Village Entrepreneurship Programme'' for encouraging  rural youth to take up local entrepreneurship programmes with an initial sum of Rs100 crore.

Jaitley said to give an added impetus to watershed development in the country, a new programme called ''Neerachal'' would be launched with an initial outlay of Rs2,142 crore in the current financial year.

For providing safe drinking water, Rs3500 crore had been earmarked under National Rural Drinking Water Programme in approximately 20,000 habitations affected with arsenic, flouride, heavy/toxic elements, pesticides/fertilisers through community water purification plants in next three years, according to Jaitley.