PURA 2.0 – Will India Inc uplift Rural India?

Infrastructure in Urban India got uplifted through various Public Private Partnership programmes in building new airports, metro rail systems, bridges, expressways, water and power distribution projects and many more. However there hasn’t been any such transformational work in rural India by private enterprises. Ministry of Rural Development wants to change this with PURA 2.0.

PURA – Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme that aims at rural infrastructure development with economic re-generation activities. PURA 2.0 is a revamped model of the earlier PURA scheme that went through pilot phase. Private partners selected to undertake PURA projects will identify a Gram Panchayat or a cluster of geographically contiguous Gram Panchayats for a population of about 25,000 – 40,000 to implement this scheme.

PURA is a Central sector scheme where Private partners would be required to provide amenities like water supply and sewerage, roads, drainage, solid waste management, street lighting and power distribution and undertake some economic and skill development activity as part of the project. In addition private developers can also provide additional revenue-earning facilities such as village linked tourism, integrated rural hub, rural market, agri-common services centre and warehousing etc that will provide livelihood opportunities to the rural population and help in reducing the urban migration.

PURA 2.0 has received good response from private developers and the Expression of Interest documents have been received from 99 companies. Government is going through the process to review and shortlist them now. Success of the PURA scheme lies not only in the rural infrastructure development but how well the private enterprises are able to generate revenue and provide livelihood opportunities to people in rural areas through their add-on projects. Such commercially viable and people centric projects will help in the sustained economic growth of rural India.

Will India Inc step up and deliver more than what is expected from the rural ministry and help bridge the rural – urban divide?

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