Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India has re-launched the scheme Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas(PURA) as a Central Sector scheme during remaining period of the XI Plan.MoRD with support from Department of Economic Affairs and the technical assistance of Asian Development Bank intends to implement the PURA scheme under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework between Gram Panchayat(s) and private sector partners. The scheme envisages twinning of rural infrastructure development with economic re-generation activities and is the first attempt at delivering a basket of infrastructure and amenities through PPP in the rural areas. It is an effort to provide a different framework for the implementation of rural infrastructure development schemes and harness private sector efficiencies in the management of assets and delivery of services.
The scope of the scheme is select private partners to develop livelihood opportunities, urban amenities and infrastructure facilities to prescribed service levels and to be responsible for maintenance of the same for a period of ten years in select Panchayats/cluster of Panchayats. Private sector entities having experience in development and management of community-oriented infrastructure projects shall be selected through an open competitive bidding process based on rigorous qualifications and evaluation criteria. The selected private partners would be required to provide amenities like water supply and sewerage, roads, drainage, solid waste management, street lighting and power distribution and undertake some economic and skill development activity as part of the PURA project. The private partners may also provide add-on revenue-earning facilities such as village linked tourism, integrated rural hub, rural market, agri-common services centre and warehousing etc. in addition to the above mentioned amenities. Where the PURA project spans several Panchayats in a cluster, the private partner would propose sub-projects with the PURA elements for each of the Panchayats.
The leveraging of public funds with private capital and management expertise for creation and maintenance of rural infrastructure is the essence of the PURA scheme, which is envisioned to act as the catalyst not only for convergence between different infrastructure development schemes but also for the new model for the management of urbanisation of rural areas.