Bharat Nirman – The Trump card of Man Mohan Singh

Bharat Nirman has become the symbol of Man Mohan Government, if we go by the importance given to it in projecting the achievement of this through digital media including TV ads something on line of the shining India of NDA.

Man Mohan Singh must get credit to give a name to this rural development programme. I got excited as it had a time frame that was to end with the end of the mandate given by Indians to this government in 2004. Before the government changes for a new one in 2009, the targets of the six basic rural necessities under Bharat Nirman would have been attained.

Roads: +38,484 villages above 1000 population and all 20,867 habitations above 500 population in hilly and tribal areas would have got road connections with 1, 46,185 kms of road length constructed by 2009.

Telephone Connections: 66,822 villages without a telephone would have got telephone connection.

Irrigation: 1 crore hectare of agricultural land would have got irrigation facilities-6 million hectare from major and medium projects, 3 million hectare for ground water development and 1 million hectare from minor irrigation projects.

Drinking water: 55,067 uncovered habitations and 2, 16, 968 villages affected by poor water quality would have got potable water, beside providing the same to 2.8 lakh habitations that have slipped back from full coverage.

Housing: 60 lakh houses at the rate of 15 lakh houses each year to be built by funds allocated to the homeless through Panchayats.

Electrification: 1,25,000 villages were to get electricity by grid based supply or in remote and inaccessible areas through alternative technologies

It is interesting that Interim budget presented on February 16 mentioned only about the achievements of houses built: “In the period between 2005-06 and December 2008, 60.12 lakh houses have already been constructed.” For all other components of Bharat Nirman, the interim finance minister had only data of financial allocation increase and additional allocation amount but no hard figure. “During 2005-2009, the allocation to this programme has been increased by 261 per cent. For the year 2009-10, I propose an allocation of Rs 40,900 crore for this programme.”

And this has been the modus operandi of all the governments since independence and perhaps will remain so for the next one too. Can someone, and who can be better that Man Mohan or Montek, tell the people of India the year when all Indian villages will be electrified, connected by roads and have telephone and at least safe drinking water? Should not the parties going to election provide hard data rather than giving percentage increase in allocation in crores?

Indian expects from the government a time frame to reach universal education, ensured health care, total sanitation, and social security in case of layoffs such as the one that is becoming big alarming news.

Will the voters be educated to demand this?

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