NITI Aayog proposes to extend Rurban Mission (SPMRM) to over 1,000 clusters

New Delhi: The 4th anniversary of the launch of Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) will be observed today. On 21 February 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Mission with the vision to deliver catalytic interventions to rural areas on the threshold of growth.

Undertaken by the Union Ministry of Rural Development, the SPMRM focuses on cluster-based integrated development through spatial planning. Rurban clusters are identified across the country’s rural areas showing increasing signs of urbanization, increase in population density, high levels of non-farm employment, presence of growing economic activities and other socioeconomic parameters.

The Mission aims to transform these rurban clusters by stimulating local economic development, enhancing basic services, and creating well-planned rurban clusters. This will lead to the holistic development of the region and encourage integrated and inclusive rural development.

Under the mission 300 rurban clusters are envisaged to be developed in a timebound manner. Of these 296 clusters have been selected and 288 Integrated Cluster Action Plans (ICAPs) have been approved. Detailed Project Reports of 240 clusters have been approved.

SPMRM is a Core Centrally Sponsored Scheme. The Mission has two fund streams – convergence through various Central sector schemes, centrally sponsored schemes, State sector/ sponsored schemes/ programmes, CSR funds; and Critical Gap Funds (CGF). It provides for CGF up to Rs 30 crore per cluster for non-tribal clusters, and up to Rs 15 crore per cluster for tribal and hilly clusters.

Currently, the total Central share funds released is Rs 1,842.97 crore. Total investment approved in 288 ICAPs is Rs 28,075 crore with convergence being Rs 21,194 crore and Rs 6,882 crore. Of this, total expenditure as on 30 November 2019, was Rs 6,689 crore of which Rs 5,619 crore formed convergence and Rs 1,071 crore under CGF. The CGF release is expected to cross the target of Rs 1,200 crore by 31 March 2020.

Infrastructure planned in these clusters includes provisions for 24/7 water supply to all households, solid and liquid waste management facilities at the household and cluster level, provision of inter and intra village roads within the cluster, adequate street lights and public transport facilities using green technologies. Economic amenities in a cluster comprise various thematic areas in the sectors of agriculture services and processing, tourism, and skill development to promote small and medium scale enterprises.

SPMRM focuses on selecting interventions in components depending on locally felt needs in different clusters. The baseline survey identified sanitation, piped water supply, solid and liquid waste management, village street lights and electrification, access to village streets with drains, inter-village roads connectivity, public transport, skill development training linked to economic activities, agri-services processing and allied activities, health, education, digital literacy, citizens service centres, LPG gas connection, environment, employment generation and self-help groups formation, tourism promotion, sports infrastructure, social infrastructure, rural housing, and social welfare, as the key components.

Going forward, the Ministry of Rural Development is taking steps to expedite the Mission’s on-ground progress. The Mission is seeking an extension by 2 years to complete all the identified works. The Ministry has received requests on several forums and communications from many states and elected officials to allocate more rurban clusters. NITI Aayog has recently shared with the Ministry that based on learning from the success of the rurban clusters, a new and extended programme for over 1,000 clusters in next 3 years may be planned.

In words of the Prime Minister, the objective is to develop the clusters with ‘Aatma Gaon Ki, Suvidhaen Shehar Ki’ (आत्मा गॉव की, सुविधाएं शहर की) by providing all the basic amenities, infrastructure as well as economic development opportunities in an integrated and timebound manner.

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The ID Staff

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