A scheme to provide amenities such as sanitation and streets in rural areas has failed to take off due to lack of coordination between the Centre and the state governments. The failure, partly due to the public-private partnership model too, is likely to hamper another such schemes on the cards.
The Provision for Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (Pura) was a brainchild of former president APJ Abdul Kalam. The scheme was introduced in 2003 and was shelved almost immediately as it was open-ended, without specific guidelines and had no in-built business plan, according to a report by the National Institute of Rural Development.
In 2012, the Centre planned to revive the scheme. The new scheme, Pura 1.0, had an initial budget of Rs248 crore for nine projects to be implemented in Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.
“By now, projects in Vijaywada and Warangal in Andhra Pradesh should have been operational.
But since the announcement of Pura 1.0 in 2012, there has been a serious lack of coordination between the Centre and the states,” a source in the ministry of rural development told dna on condition of anonymity.
“Public-private partnership (PPP), which was the bedrock and specialty of Pura 1.0, became a major bone of contention as the Centre chose private players and gave them the liberty of site selection without taking consent from the states.”
“The Centre selected the private players, and also set guidelines of mandatory and optional amenities (see table 1) to be given in rural areas,” said the source. Apart from mandatory schemes to be carried out in collaboration with different ministries, the private players were allowed to carry out one separate add-on project (see table 2) for their own profit, said the source.
The Centre had also announced Pura 2.0 in 2012 with a budget of Rs560 crore to carry out 10-15 projects in various states. However, with the implementation of Pura1.0 still on hold, the fate of Pura 2.0 seems uncertain.
Mandatory and optiona infrastructure and amenities to be provided under PURA 1.0:
1. Water and Sewage
2. Construction and maintenance of village streets
4. Solid Waste Management
5. Skill Development
6. Development of Economic Activities
7. Village streets and lighting
8. Telecom lines
9. Electricity generation
Add-on projects that private players could implement for their profit
1. Village-based tourism
2. Integrated rural hub, market
3. Agri-services centre and warehouses
4. Any other rural economy based program.