Employment-Intensive Investment

National Rural Development in India

In India, roads have come to occupy a dominant position in the transportation system of the country. Rural roads infrastructure is critical to socio-economic development. The total road network in India today stands at 3.4 million km of which 2.8 million km comprises low volume rural roads. This includes roads constructed and upgraded under the Government of India’s flagship Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) programme. Rural roads comprise over 80 per cent of the road network and their being kept in serviceable condition is crucial to the agricultural growth and livelihood of millions in rural areas including all weather connectivity to social facilities such as schools, health and market centres.

The Government of India (Ministry of Rural Development) has received a Loan of US$ 1.5 billion from the World Bank/International Development Association for the PMGSY Programme to be implemented in seven states (Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttara Khand). The ILO and the National Rural Roads Development Agency (NRRDA), Ministry of Rural Development, recently signed an agreement ( Phase-1 US$ 2.4 million for 2 years to be followed by Phase-2) for provision of technical assistance for developing and launching innovative and sustainable employment intensive rural roads maintenance systems in the above States. In this unique partnership in India, the ILO has been invited by the Ministry of Rural Development and the World Bank to provide technical inputs, based on ILO’s global expertise in the field of development and sustainable maintenance of rural roads.