Of all the government's sponsored flagship schemes to promote holistic rural development in terms of providing basic services to country's hinterlands, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) has impacted most by way of improving the quality of life in rural areas. This rural road construction programme remains one of the well-run and successful Central government schemes, benefitting poor rural inhabitation especially on a per capita poverty and welfare basis, says a report. The report attributes the success of the scheme to its unique format, design, evaluation, and monitoring system in- build into it. The scheme continues to be frequently inspected for its quality work and maintenance carried out regularly from time to time through an effective institutional mechanism.

Technology-driven best interna- tional practices like GIS and space imaging techniques are reported to have been deployed to oversee and speed-up the construction work. The roads built under PMGSY are required to meet the technical specifications and geometric design standard as per the Rural Road Manual of Indian Road Congress. All rural roads are covered by a five-year maintenance contract and work awarded as per Standard Bidding Document (SBD). All inspection reports are to be mandatorily updated with at least 10 on the job digital photographs. Reputed technical institutes like IITs are designated as independent evaluators for this purpose. 100% of construction cost is borne by GOI. At the end of five years, roads under this scheme are placed under Zonal Maintenance Contract for another five years and costs are borne by the states under State Rural Road Development Agency (SRRDA) through a separate dedicated Maintenance Fund Account. Thus, scheme's distinctive management system and provision of a composite construction contract have resulted in better quality of rural roads across the country.

NBM&CW March 2017