In its effort to improve public transport system in rural India, Centre has decided to involve women self-help groups (SHGs) in the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Parivahan Yojana, which is likely to be launched on August 15, an Indian Express report said.
As per Amarjeet Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, the scheme will be implemented first in 250 blocks, including areas affected by Maoists related problems. These groups will be provided interest free-loans and also training to operate mini-buses.
The aim to expand the scheme is to ensure that entire length of rural roads are serviced by public transport. According to the paper, there are 32 lakh SHGs with over 3.8 crore women members in the country. Many of these groups will be involved in the scheme, mainly in rural blocks which are not serviced by public transport.
Rural Self Employment Training Institutes imparts driving courses in as many as 63 training institutes, which will teach driving to women from the SHGs, Sinha added.
The secretary further said that the Parivahan Yojana would complement Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in which the target is to construct 150 km of roads in rural areas per day this financial year, which is up from 73 km per day in 2013-14.
Initially, the rural transport scheme was proposed to be rolled out as a centrally-sponsored scheme by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. For the scheme, about sixty percent of the funding would come from the Centre and the rest from the state, officials told the paper.
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“It was the Finance Ministry which proposed that it should be taken up by the Rural Development Ministry as a livelihood programme by involving women SHGs,” Nagesh Singh, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, was quoted as saying by the paper.