New Delhi: Government`s efforts to involve
private sector in rural development has evoked encouraging
response with as many as 93 business houses showing
willingness to participate in a central scheme to bridge the
Welcoming their response, Rural Development Minister C P
Joshi said the scheme would usher in a new era of development
enabling the rural population to avail of basic infrastructure
"Private partners selected for this scheme will work for a
Gram Panchayat of 25,000-40,000 population or a group of
geographically connected Gram Panchayats," Joshi said today.
The ministry had invited an expression of interest from
the private sector a few months back. The companies, which
have sent their proposal include Tata Power, Tata Realty and
Infrastructure, Jindal Steels and Power, Reliance Energy,
IL&FS, IDFC and Drishti.
A senior official of the ministry said implementation of
the scheme is likely to commence from January next year after
completion of the process including selection of the private
partners and Detailed Project Reports (DPR).
The private partners will be involved in activities
related to water and sewerage, construction and maintenance of
streets, drainage, solid waste management and skill
In addition, there will be provision for street lights in
village lanes, telephone, other electrical works, rural
tourism, village centers and rural markets, common centres for
agriculture, ware housing and other projects involving rural
The central scheme, PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in
Rural Areas), had first been implemented on a pilot basis from
2004-05 for a period of three years in seven clusters -- one
each in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan,
Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.
Under the 11th Plan, Rs 248 crore has been sanctioned to
implement the scheme on a pilot basis again in ten Panchayats
or Panchayat clusters, for a period of 13 years.
The scheme envisages holistic and accelerated development
of areas around a potential growth centre in a gram panchayat
or group of gram panchayats in PPP framework.
The framework of bringing together public funds and
private capital for creation of infrastructure in rural areas
and leveraging upon private sector expertise to manage and
maintain the same during the concession period, forms the
essence of the re-structured PURA scheme, a dream project of
former President APJ Abdul Kalam.