Summary and a brief introspection whether Bharat Nirman Programme is really successful

Rural India is deprived of development on fronts such as infrastructure, social and economic. To deliver all round development to the rural people, the Government of India launched a time-bound programme known as the Bharat Nirman on 16 May 2005. It was launched by the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh for successfully completing one year of the UPA government. The programme was targeted to be implemented over a period of four years but many of its schemes have been extended.

What is a rural sector in India?

Rural sector is a place that has the total population of less than 5,000, density of population is below 400 per sq km and 25% of the male population is engaged in agriculture

What is Bharat Nirman programme?

Bharat Nirman is a programme for rural development to alleviate poverty and to uplift the quality of rural life. This programme was designed to cover rural housing, water supply, roads, irrigation, electricity and telecommunication. The plan has been implemented by the central government. Projects under Bharat Nirman are Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Indira Awaas Yojana, National Rural Drinking Water Programme and National Rural Drinking Water Programme.

Safe Drinking Water Supply – Bharat Nirman programme aims to provide safe drinking water to all the under-developed rural sectors of the country. Improving the quality of drinking water of 2.17 lakh areas was also the aim of this project. 2012 was the target year to achieve these objectives.

Housing – Bharat Nirman programme aims to provide complete housing facilities to the poor by the end of 2009. The plan has been extended to 2014. Number of houses to be constructed has been increased to 1.2 crore from 60 lakh. This consists of Indira Awaas Yojana run by the Ministry of Rural Development sponsored by the central government. The state and the Central government shared the cost in the ratio of 3:1 in the Awaas Yojana scheme.

Telecommunication and Information Technology – Aim of Telecommunication services is to increase rural telecommunication services by 40% by the end of 2014. Also it aims to provide broadband connectivity to the major 2.5 lakh Panchayat towns by the end of 2012.

Electricity – Electricity to all villages by the end of 2012.

Roads – Bharat Nirman plan aims to provide road connectivity to all the rural sectors having minimum population of 1000 under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. This Yojana was launched on 25th December 2000. The aim was to provide good quality all-weather roads.

The proposal covers more than 38,484 villages with population of above 1000 and all 20,867 habitations above 500 populations in hilly and tribal areas.

It was proposed that by the end of 2009 1,46,185 kms of road length would be constructed.

This would give complete farm to market connectivity.

Irrigation – Bharat Nirman also aims to provide an extra one crore hectare of irrigational land by the year 2012 to rural people.

Role of Volunteers

Effective communication is important for the success of any programme. For the same purpose a group of Bharat Nirman Volunteers (BNVs) have been created by the Ministry of Rural Development. This is done under the Lab to Land Initiative in 2010- 2011. 40 lakh BNVs have been created and trained. Main role of BNVs is to communicate with the rural people, to explain the flagship programmes and persuade them to participate, to bridge the gap between scheme and its implementation, to act as a link between government agencies and people and to act as a monitoring group.

How successful is the Bharat Nirman programme?

Most of the economists consider the programme as utilization without quality. Though significant improvement has been done for the development of rural India but still lot more is required to be done for the completion of Bharat Nirman. It must be checked whether the said targets have been met or not. Experts also believe that sustainability and quality are the major problems that need to be addressed. Though some targets have been achieved but these seriously lack on quality.

In year 2007-08 near about one quarter of the budget was allocated to Bharat Nirman for its drinking water scheme. The target was met but less attention was paid on the effectiveness and sustainability. It had major quality issues. After surveys it was found out that though villages were provided with the drinking water but the areas were either coming back to dry or getting contaminated water. Along with this the plan had no strategy to restore groundwater that fulfilled 90% of drinking water needs of the country. So the area sinking under dry category was increasing rapidly.

Indira Awas Yojana which is considered to be the most successful yojana also show difference between the actual work done and target completed on the papers. The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana is actually considered to be successful.

Mostly with time target to complete starts taking priority over quality but for the success of any such scheme the main focus should be on quality as well as its timely completion. Quality should never be compromised otherwise there will be a wastage of resources and then more resources to rectify and redo the same.