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Government unveils 3rd phase of rural road scheme


NEW DELHI:  In a move to nudge states to adopt key agrarian reforms, including amendments to the Agricultural Produces Marketing Cooperatives (APMC) Act, the Centre on Wednesday unveiled the third phase of the flagship rural road schemes at a cost of Rs 80,000 crore. Union Minister for Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar said the states would need to sign pacts to implement the scheme while agreeing to change their Mandi Act. 

“The state governments will need to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Centre. The states should adopt the model APMC (Amendment) Bill for implementation of the third phase of Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojna (PMGSY). The states will also have to use plastic wastes in building the rural roads under the scheme,” Tomar said after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

The minister stated that the third phase of the rural road flagship scheme PMGSY would focus on connectivity of villages with agricultural markets, hospitals and schools. The scheme will be implemented under the cost-sharing formula of 60:40 between Centre and states, while it would be 90:10 for special category states. 

The Centre said 1.15 lakh km of roads under the third phase of PMGSY would be built, while the states would get the responsibility of maintenance after five years of completion. Tomar said the third phase of PMGSY could be launched in states like Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana as they have their maximum eligible habitations covered under the first two phases of PMGSY. The deadline for completion of the third phase is 2024.

The Centre had been blaming states for not adopting agrarian reforms, which could have helped farmers’ enhance their incomes. It had been nudging states to adopt crucial agrarian reforms, which also included model land leasing law. Both the model APMC Amendment Bill and the land leasing Bill were framed by NITI Aayog, with its top officials of reaching out to states in the first term of the Modi government for their adoption.