Out of 2,20,570 km of roads constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) scheme in the last six years (including the current year), 1,54,120 km, or 70 per cent, has come up in 10 States, with Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh getting the lion’s share. 

A total of 7,98,739 km of road construction has been sanctioned and 7,21,362 km completed under various interventions/verticals of PMGSY as on December 1, 2022, at a cost of ₹2,85,981 crore.

Data presented by the Ministry of Rural Development to the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday shows that, in the last five years, 26,166 km of roadworks were completed in Odisha, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 21,039 km, Chhattisgarh (15,051 km), Bihar (14,761 km) and Assam (14,653 km). Maharashtra and Kerala are among the bottom ten States, with North-East states recording just about 1,000 km of new roads. 

Since the project’s inception, 1,72,365 habitations have been provided connectivity in over 250 population categories in various states and Union territories. 

The ministry told the Rajya Sabha that funds under PMGSY are released to a State based on the proposals received from it, the works in hand, execution capacity, and the unspent funds available with it. The funds for the scheme are released as a whole to the State. 

Rural connectivity

PMGSY-I was launched in 2000 as a one-time special intervention to provide rural connectivity, by way of a single all-weather road, to eligible unconnected habitations of designated population size as per Census 2001.

In 2013, PMGSY-II was launched to upgrade selected routes and major rural links (MRLs). PMGSY-III, launched in 2019, targeted consolidation of 1,25,000 km routes and MRLs connecting habitations to gramin agricultural markets (GrAMs), higher secondary schools, and hospitals.

Quality of work

The quality of construction under PMGSY is overseen by National Quality Monitors (NQMs). In the last three years (March 2019 to March 2022), 7.23 per cent of completed works and 6.18 per cent of ongoing works were graded as unsatisfactory by NQMs, whereas during March 2021 to March 2022, the unsatisfactory grading decreased to 6.38 per cent for completed works and 4.55 per cent for ongoing works.

Impact of connectivity 

The ministry’s study, titled ‘Impact Assessment Study of Improved Rural Road Maintenance System under PMGSY’, earlier mentioned that road construction often attracted complementary investments from people as they viewed the roads as a permanent feature.

When roads were built, many farmers shifted to crops that were considered feasible and more profitable with connectivity. More people travelled outside their habitations for better employment opportunities. With improved roads and public transport facilities, travel time to workplace was reduced and new income opportunities and small enterprises flourished. Access to health facilities improved, besides resulting in great savings in time, the report mentions. 

“One of the most significant differences seen was related to education parameters in the comparisons. More schools have come up in the sample habitations and more teachers per number of students were noticed in the habitations where roads are better maintained,” the report added.