In this article we will discuss about the PURAâ€™s Approach to Development. After reading this article you will learn about: 1. Subject-Matter of PURAâ€™s Approach to Development 2. PURA Model 3. Union Government’s Approval of PURA Model 4. Assessment of PURA Model on Rural Development.Â Â Â Â
Subject-Matter of PURAâ€™s Approach to Development:
Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam during his tenure as President of India advocated his vision 2020 for eradicating poverty from India and accordingly emphasised the concept of PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas). While addressing the Food Security Summit on 5th February, 2004, Dr. Kalam gave a broad outline of the concept and strategy of PURA for the upliftment of rural areas.
In order to eradicate poverty and to sustain the higher growth rate at 10 per cent and to become a developed nation an integrated action is required in following five directions:
(i) Agriculture and food processing: India should target to attain 360 million tonnes of food agricultural production by 2020. To attain faster economic growth agro food-processing industry needs to be developed.
(ii) Electric Power: Attain reliable and quality electric power throughout the country.
(iii) Arrange Education and Health Care for all.
(iv) ICT: Expanding Information and Communication Technology in rural areas for promoting education and also for creating national wealth; and
(v) Strategic Sectors: To attain development of strategic sectors so as to attain growth in nuclear technology, defence technology and space technology.
Above mentioned areas need to be developed in mission mode for attainingâ€”networking of rivers, arranging high quality uninterrupted power supply, providing urban amenities in rural areas (PURA), Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for transforming knowledge products, attaining Second Green Revolution.
While addressing the National Technology Day, 2003, President Dr. Kalam observed, “A key element of vision 2020 would be providing urban amenities in rural areas, This isâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦best achieved through provision of four critical connectivity’s: physical connectivity by providing good quality roads, transport services and quality power; electronic connectivity by providing reliable communication networks; knowledge connectivity by establishing more professional institutions and vocational training centres, schools with high quality infrastructure and devoted teachers, production centres for rural artisans, primary health centres, recreation centres etc., and market connectivity that will help realise the best value of the products and services of rural people, and constantly expand and enrich employment opportunities for them.”
Dr. Kalam was of the view that technology is considered as most non-linear tool which can create fundamental charges in the ground rules of economic competitiveness. Economy and environment bring technology to society and technology will work as an important tool for providing urban facilities in rural areas by developing physical electronic, knowledge and economic connectivity’s.
PURA Model has involved above mentioned four connectivities, i.e., physical connectivity, electronic connectivity, knowledge connectivity and economic connectivity for attaining higher level of development of a cluster of villages in the rural areas.
A brief description of this connectivityâ€™s is as follows:
To attain physical connectivity a group of 15 to 25 villages will be directly linked to each other by road and these villages will also be connected by a ring road. Moreover provision will be made for transport facilities and electricity supply in these villages.
Digital connectivity is to be attained in these clusters of villages by developing modern telecommunication and information technology services by opening PCOs, Cyber Cafes etc.
Knowledge connectivity is to be attained by establishing a school, higher education centre, a hospital etc. on every 5 to 7 kms distance on the ring road.
To attain economic connectivity within this cluster of villages, proper marketing facility needs to be developed for procuring all goods and services of daily use and the goods produced by the rural people can be sold in these markets at remunerative prices. Considering the nature of the region and the present state of development, PURA clusters can be classified into three different categories, i.e., Type A, Type B and Type C PURA Clusters.
The characteristics of these clusters are as follows:
Type A Cluster:
Type A cluster of villages is to be situated near an urban area which is having minimum road connectivity, limited infrastructure, limited support including school, primary health centre etc.
Type B Cluster:
Type B cluster of villages is also situated very close to urban area but maintaining sparsely spread infrastructure and no connectivity.
Type C Cluster:
Type C cluster of villages is located far interior area basically having no infrastructure, no connectivity and no basic amenities of living. On the Independence Day message (2003), the Prime Minister formally announced launching of 5,000 PURAs which are again 5,000 Rural Development Blocks in the Country.
Each block is having 1,00,000 population. The Tenth Plan has made the per capita investment of Rs 20,000 in which public sector accounts for about 50 per cent.
Accordingly, the public sector component of PURA in these 5,000 Rural Development Blocks would be to the extent of Rs 5,00,000 crore, i.e., at the rate of Rs 100 crore for each PURA. It needs to be mentioned here that PURA is a Vision 2020 Project and it has to be covered during the three consecutive five year plans for making an investment of Rs 100 crore in each PURA or development blocks.
Union Government’s Approval of PURA Model:
On 20th January, 2004, the Union Cabinet in its meeting accorded its approval in principle in order to execute PURA model within the existing arrangement of gross budgetary support so as to bridge the rural- urban divide as well as to attain balanced socio-economic development.
Initially, Union Government envisaged the development of over 4,000 rural clusters mostly located in backward regions. For each cluster, Rs 3 crore was provided and accordingly on 4,000 PURAs Rs 12,000 crore were to be spent for its development in the identified set up.
Assessment of PURA Model on Rural Development:
Following Gandhian principles, Community Development programmes were introduced in India in the early part of its planning for the development of villages across the country. In-spite of that effort, the rural- urban divide continues to grow resulting in continuous flow of rural-urban migration.
With continuous growth in the size of urban population to the extent of 285 million in 2001 from a mere 52 million in 1951, urban areas of the country started to face serious problem of congestion and urban chaos along with growth of urban slums in large number.
The main objective of PURA is to initiate the process of development by creating a conducive investment climate in the rural areas without creating any situation for population transfers. But the present of provision of a mere Rs 3 crore per cluster of villages as against the need of Rs 100 crore is considered too little to start the model.
Instead, it would have been better initially to select lesser number, say about 500 blocks in the most backward areas of the country and invest at least Rs 25 crore in each selected block for the development of required infrastructure during the Tenth Plan and remaining blocks could have been covered in Eleventh and Twelfth Plans in effective manner.
It can be stated that the PURA model is an attempt of reconciliation between employment and GDP growth objectives designed for rural upliftment. To fulfil its objectives, it is very important to develop synergy among different constituents related to it.
It is high time that some innovative interventions of rural urban Interface are identified and a combination of innovative ideas be suggested for the effective development of each rural cluster.