Rural Infrastructure Schemes

Rural Infrastructure Schemes

AKRUTI Program to start in Kudankulam


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AKRUTI Program

Mains level : NA

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited is all set to launch AKRUTI programme in the villages surrounding Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP).

AKRUTI Program

  • The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited is assisting unemployed youth living near the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS) through AKRUTI.
  • AKRUTI stands for Advanced Knowledge and Rural Technology Implementation (AKRUTI) program.
  • Areas of water, food processing, agriculture and waste management in rural areas are covered under the AKRUTI program.
  • The scheme aims at empowering villages through implementing different technologies for usage.
  • This scheme will lead to sustainable growth of the rural sector across the country.

What is the objective?

  • To provide information and mechanism for implementation of BARC technologies in rural areas thereby aiming at overall rural development.


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Rural Infrastructure Schemes

[pib] SVAMITVA Scheme


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SVAMITVA

Mains level : Land records management in India

Our PM has launched the physical distribution of Property Cards under the SVAMITVA Scheme.

Try this MCQ:

Q.The SVAMITVA Scheme sometimes seen in news is related to:

Urban Employment/ Land records management/ Child Adoption/ None of these


  • SVAMITVA stands for Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas.
  • Under the scheme, the latest surveying technology such as drones will be used for measuring the inhabited land in villages and rural areas.
  • The mapping and survey will be conducted in collaboration with the Survey of India, State Revenue Department and State Panchayati Raj Department under the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
  • The drones will draw the digital map of every property falling in the geographical limit of each Indian village.
  • Property Cards will be prepared and given to the respective owners.

Significance of the scheme

  • The scheme paves the way for using the property as a financial asset by villagers for taking loans and other financial benefits.
  • Also, this is the first time ever that such a large-scale exercise involving the most modern means of technology is being carried out to benefit millions of rural property owners.

Various benefits

  • The scheme will create records of land ownership in villages and these records will further facilitate tax collection, new building plan and issuance of permits.
  • It will enable the government to effectively plan for the infrastructural programs in villages.
  • It would help in reducing the disputes over property.

Back2Basics:  E-Gramswaraj Portal

  • E Gram Swaraj portal is the official portal of central govt for the implementation of Swamitva scheme.
  • By visiting this portal people can check their Panchayat profile easily. It will also contain the details of ongoing development works and the fund allocated for them.
  • Any citizen can create his or her account on the portal and can know about the developmental works of villages.
  • The user of E Gram Swaraj portal can also access all work of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
  • This single interface will help speed-up the implementation of projects in rural areas from planning to completion.

Rural Infrastructure Schemes

Private: Engaging Rural Youth Gainfully


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Reaping benefits of India’s demographic dividend by better skilling


  • India has a high proportion of youth in its population, especially that of rural youth.
  • Harnessing their potential to contribute to the country’s growth would require rural-centric policies that combine the development of appropriate technologies and innovations, skilling of youth, and the creation of an ecosystem for the establishment of own enterprises.

Definition of Youth:

  • The United Nations referred youth as those in the age group of 15 to 24 years.
  • While the National Youth Policy of 2003 considered youth as those belonging to the age group of 13–35 years, the NYP 2014 redefined youth as those in the age group of 15–29 years(Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports 2014).
  • In their report on “Youth in India 2017,” the Central Statistics Office(CSO 2017) defined the age group of 15–34 years as youth.

Engaging Rural Youth:

  • By the definition of NYP 2014, with 33.3 crore youth population in the 15–29 years age bracket (that is, 27.5% of the country’s population of 121.1 crore), India is the youngest country in the world.
  • The proportion of rural youth is about 67% to 68% of the country’s total population.
  • The male rural youth remained at about 52% of the total rural youth population.
  • Given this overwhelming percentage of rural youth, any policy to advance the cause of youth needs to be rural centric to harness and realise their potential and contribute to the country’s growth.

Structure of Rural Economy:

  • According to the data provided by the CSO for the base year 2011–12, the rural sector accounted for about 94% of the country’s farm income in 2011–12, that is, income originating from crops, forestry, fishing and livestock-related activities.
  • Further, the rural sector contributed about 36% of the country’s non-farm income.
  • The farm sector has been losing its significance with the sector’s contribution to rural income falling from 72.4% in 1970–71 to 39% in 2011–12.
  • Even though the farm sector continues to be an important sector, within it, there is also a shift from traditional food grain production to horticulture and dairy.
  • Cultivation activity contributed only 35% of the total income of  the agricultural households.
  • It reflects the changing structure of the country’s rural economy and challenges policymakers to maintain the tempo of non-farm activities in rural areas.
  • The shift away from the traditional reliance on farm activities to non-farm activities in the rural areas has been accompanied by the rising literacy rate.
  • Literacy rate in rural India has considerably improved from 44.7% in 1991 to 68.9% in 2011; that is, more than two-thirds of the rural population are literate now.
  • Diversification of economic activities coupled with the rising literacy rate provides ample opportunities for diversifying the talents of youth.

Rural Youth Development:

  • There is a need to create a suitable environment to develop opportunities for employment of the rural youth. It includes three important steps:
  • Development of modern and appropriate technologies and innovations that have the potential for large-scale adoption in rural areas;
  • Skilling of rural youth to make them capable of adopting those modern technologies;
  • Development of an appropriate ecosystem in the rural areas so that the skilled youth are encouraged to establish their own enterprises.

1.Developing modern and appropriate technologies and innovations:

  • Although, agriculture is not seen as a remunerative occupation, through advances in innovation, capacity-building, partnership and participatory approaches, better market linkages and by developing a synergy with other sectors of the economy, many employment and entrepreneurial opportunities can be created.
  • There exists a huge opportunity in rural areas for the growth of off-farm sector activities.

Example: Opportunities are emerging in agri-tech, agri-based e-commerce, information technology (IT)-linked agri-extension, seed technology, biotechnology, farm monitoring, agri/rural fin-tech, and so on, enabling the educated rural youth to explore new ideas, undertake research and establish start-ups.

  • There are also opportunities emerging from the modern practices of farming, other rural activities, use of the drone to detect problems in crop fields/orchards etc.
  • The idea of harvesting solar energy as the third crop on the farmer’s field is also gaining ground.
  • Mobile infrastructures such as biorefineries/phyto-refineries can be developed to provide processing support.
  • There is a need to facilitate the integration of agricultural research, industrial research and biotechnological research.
  • Efforts are also needed in finding innovation/technology-based solutions to some of the basic problems relating to agriculture:
  • Development of smart agricultural machinery;
  • Developing apparatus such as censors to encourage precision agriculture to apply need-based fertiliser and micro-nutrients; and
  •  Finding solutions to the overuse of water.

2.Skilling of rural youth:

  • Human capital is vital for fostering the growth of the economy and more so of the rural economy.
  • The Need to focus on skill development follows directly from the need for improving employment opportunities.
  • National Skill Development Policy estimates that only 5.4% of the workforce in India has undergone formal training.
  • The percentage of rural youth (that is, 15–29 years age group) who did not receive vocational training of any sort stood at 90.3% in 2011–12 and this went up to 93.7% in 2017–18.
  • Although formal vocational training can be considered as a sure gateway to the job market, the employability of the trained ones remains poor because of the low quality of vocational training imparted.
  • The rural youth lack “soft skills,” such as the ability to experiment with new ideas, spot business opportunities, sales and marketing skill etc.
  • The thrust on the skill development of rural youth should be capability-based, and the focus should go beyond agricultural occupations and traditional courses.

Connecting the dots:

  • It is important to understand how relevant the training is to the needs, identify the gaps and make concerted efforts to fill the identified gaps.
  • The quality of training at industrial training institutes needs to be strengthened by redesigning the curriculum and upgrading them through appropriate budgetary allocations under the National Skill Development Fund.
  • It is equally important to strengthen the institute–industry interface.
  • Rural youth should be trained to acquire different soft skills including basic English language skills.
  • Skill development initiatives need to be compatible with programmes and policies directed towards making a “Digital India.”

3.Developing appropriate ecosystem for establishing rural enterprises:

  • Skills acquired need to be linked to their engagement in some livelihood option. This requires a responsive entrepreneurial ecosystem that identifies their talent and absorbs them in an economic activity.
  • Agriculture graduates from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research system or state agricultural universities may be engaged in agri-related rural entrepreneurships.
  • Establishing fellowship programmes in different fields of agriculture may bring back youth with a farming background to the field and related agribusinesses, and in agriculture-related research and development.
  • The possibility to make the Krishi Vigyan Kendras a hub of all the technology solutions developed by different missions, departments of various institutions like the ICAR, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and private sector players can be explored.
  • The Citizen Service Centres(CSCs) may be designed to play the role of purveyors of taking the latest advances in production and post-harvest systems to the field. Youth can be trained on various IT platforms to run these CSCs.
  • An important aspect for enterprise creation is funding support, particularly equity funding, which is critical to ensure the success of any enterprise.
  • Provision can be made to encourage deployment of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds as seed funds for these ventures.


  • Engaging rural youth gainfully should become an integral part of growth stimulating policies
  • Productively engaging the rural youth would help reduce the asymmetries in several socio-economic indicators between rural and urban areas, which have come to characterise the recent growth experience of the Indian economy. 
  • Thus, the efforts towards bridging the rural–urban divide should revolve around the idea of engaging the rural youth in productive activities.

Rural Infrastructure Schemes

[pib] SARAS Aajeevika Mela


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SARAS Aajeevika Mela

Mains level : Impact of DAY-NRLM

SARAS Aajeevika Mela

  • It is an initiative by the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).
  • Its objective is to bring the rural women SHGs formed with support of DAY-NRLM, under one platform to show-case their skills, sell their products and help them build linkages with bulk buyers.
  • Through participation in SARAS Aajeevika Mela, these rural SHG women get vital national level exposure to understand the demand and taste of urban customers.
  • The Mela acts as an integrated approach towards women empowerment.
  • It is organised by the marketing arm of the Ministry, Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART).

Rural Infrastructure Schemes

[oped of the day] Constitution’s Seventh Schedule, which differentiates between spending by the Centre and states, needs a re-look


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Rationalising CSS to preserve federalism

What’s this feature?

Op-ed of the day is the most important editorial of the day. This will cover a key issue that suddenly came into news and students may miss it in the daily news. This will also take care of certain key issues students have to cover in respective papers.


The difference between a CS and a CSS is that for the former, all expenditure is borne by the Union government. For a CSS, part of the expenditure is borne by the Union government. States bear the rest. 

Centrally Sponsored Schemes – 3 trends

  • In CSS, the state’s contribution is contingent on the type of state — North East and Himalayan states versus the others. 
    • The present CSS basket has an expiry date of March 31, 2020, co-terminus with recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission. From April 1, 2020, we will have a new CSS basket. 
    • Revamping a CS is the Union government’s prerogative, while revamping a CSS, without consultation with states, is not.
  • The ToR (terms of reference) for the 15th Finance Commission mentions a re-examination of CSS
  • The Union government is taking a look at CSS. 

Previous committees on CSS

  • The former Planning Commission’s 2001 B K Chaturvedi report on restructuring of CSSs and Niti Aayog’s 2015 Sub-Group of Chief Ministers’ Report on rationalisation of CSSs. 
  • Chaturvedi report
    • It suggested that nine flagship schemes (MGNREGA, IAY, SSA, NRHM, and so on) should remain as CSSs, while another six schemes (JNNURM, RKVY and so on) should become CSSs.
    • When implemented, all schemes were repackaged and retained. It was restructuring in the sense of rearrangement. 
  • Sub-group of chief ministers
    • It talked about implementation and divided schemes into core and optional ones. 
    • Existing CSS should be restructured and their number should be reduced to a maximum of 30 schemes. All these schemes would be ‘Umbrella Schemes’, with every scheme having a large number of components with a uniform funding pattern.
    • Thereafter, there are 28 CSSs, divided into “core of the core” and “core”.


  • The 28 umbrella schemes are very large umbrellas.
  • For example, the scheme on “Green Revolution” covers “Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, National Food Security Mission, Agriculture Marketing, Information, Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Cooperation, Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census and Statistics, National Agri-Tech Infrastructure, National Mission on Horticulture, National Mission on Oilseed and Oil Palm, National Project on Agroforestry, National Project on Organic Farming, National Project on Soil Health and Fertility, Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, Rain-fed Area Development and Climate Change and Sub-Missions on Agriculture Extension, Agriculture Mechanisation, Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine & Seed and Planting Material.”
  • Clearly, the figure of 28 is misleading. The number of CSSs depends partly on how one defines a CSS. 
  • At the 3rd National Development Council (NDC) meeting in 1954, Shri Hanumanthaiah referred to the difficulties of the states in finding resources to meet their share of expenditure.
  • He also suggested a consultation with the states before directives in this regard were issued.
  • It was also pointed out that a large number of schemes were sponsored by other ministries also e.g. training schemes of the Ministry of Health and certain schemes for the industry of the Home Ministry. 

What was said in the past and what’s the way ahead

  • Given the paucity of resources, there can only be a limited number of CSS and CSS combined, such as the Chaturvedi figure of 15. 
  • There is an optimal level of governance at which public goods are best provided.
  • The Seventh Schedule was a product of historical evolution. There should be no CSSs for items on the State List.
  • A CSS restructuring/rationalisation debate requires a relook at the Seventh Schedule.
  • This should be done with consultation with states at an appropriate forum.

Has 2 departments under it – Dept. of Rural Development and Dept. of Land Resources. National level schemes under them – Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) for rural roads development, Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) rural emploment and for rural housing, Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) & Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP).

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