Vajpayee's pet project not getting enough funds

Vajpayee's pet project not getting enough funds

Vajpayee's pet project not getting enough funds

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may have returned to power at the Centre, but former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s pet project to link all villages by road networks is yet to regain momentum as Modi’s government has not allocated enough fund for it.

The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) — a project launched by Vajpayee — got a budgetary allocation of only Rs 14,291 crore for 2015-16. The Ministry of Rural Development is of the view that the allocation would prove to be “grossly inadequate” as the state governments required an estimated Rs 57,206 crore for building roads, which were sanctioned previously, but remained pending or incomplete.

The MoRD has written to the Ministry of Finance to raise the allocation for PMGSY to at least Rs 24,800 crore for the current financial year to maintain the “tempo of implementation” of the project.

The PMGSY was launched in 2000 by Vajpayee.

The ambitious scheme envisaged laying all-weather roads to link all villages that have at least 500 residents in the plain areas and 250 or more inhabitants in the hilly, desert and tribal areas.

During the Congress-led UPA’s regime from 2004 to 2014, the BJP repeatedly accused the government for squeezing the flow of fund to the project by not allocating adequate fund for it and thus slowing down works. Though the UPA government allocated Rs 21,700 crore for the PMGSY in 2013-14, it was later cut down to just Rs 9,700 crore. The 2014-15 budgetary allocation of Rs 14,391 crore included Rs 4,160 crore for repayment of loan from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development or NABARD, but it was also slashed to Rs 14,200 crore later. The MoRD recently informed a parliamentary panel that it had so far received only Rs 47,182 crore (or 44.93%) of the Rs 1,05,000 crore allocated for the project in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017).

According to official sources, the MoRD also moved a proposal to the Ministry of Finance for a new loan of Rs 12,000 crore from NABARD. It has also proposed to raise additional fund by levying an excise duty of Rs 2 on every litre of diesel and petrol.