Mumbai: Building roads in rural areas is the
job of state governments and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana
was not a long-term solution to the problem of lack of roads,
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Sunday.
"If the Central government focused on construction of
rural roads and their repairs and maintenance, then it will
have no money to spend on creating other infrastructure," the
minister said, adding "we have to recognise its limitations".
Ramesh was speaking at the inauguration of a seminar on
`Engendering Physical Infrastructure via PMGSY` here.
He said since Central government schemes were devised at
the national level, there was no scope of variation to fit the
Though PMGSY was conceptualised ten years ago, the actual
implementation started only six years ago, he said.
"State governments are asking for funds for repairs and
maintenance of PMGSY roads, and at the same time they raise a
cry about federal structure," he said, in an apparent
reference to the states who have opposed the proposed
Ramesh said 50 per cent of the rural development funds
will be given to the state governments by the end of the 12th
five year plan, so that the spending could be as per the
states` own priorities.
PMGSY is for the villages which have a population of 500
or more. Ramesh said states such as Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka
and Maharashtra had launched similar schemes to connect
habitations which have less population, which was a welcome
He said he was considering extending the benefit of
pension for widows to those in under-40 age group, as "widows
in the age group of less than 40 are among the most
unprivileged". Currently, only those in 40-49 age group are