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  • Dr. S.K.Ghosh,
    Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology,
    Roorkee 247667, e-mail: scnagosh@datainfosys.net

    Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) is a VISION 2020 conceptualization of the Honorable President of India, Dr.A.P.J.Kalam. One of the main philosophy as projected, is to make rural areas as attractive to investors as in cities, then rural areas too will generate urban-style employment leading to a reduction in rural-urban migration. It states that a new thrust to all-round rural development can be achieved through the provision of four critical connectivities. Physical connectivity, an important connectivity, is to provide good roads, transport services and quality power in the rural area. Next connectivity is economic that will help realize the best value for the products and services of rural people, and constantly expand and enrich employment opportunities for them. Knowledge and Electronic Connectivities follow this. Knowledge Connectivity provides for establishing more professional institutions and vocational training centres, schools with high quality infrastructure, teachers devoted to teaching, production centres for rural artisans, primary centres, recreation centres etc, while Electronic Connectivity provides reliable communication networks. The model envisages a holistic habitat that would improve the quality of life in rural areas and also help in decongesting of urban areas.

    In the present study, funded by Department of Science & Technology New Delhi, a strategic GIS based model for rural infrastructure planning has been developed. Laksar block of Haridwar district in Uttaranchal has been selected for developing the prototype model. An integrated geographic database, consisting of spatial as well as non-spatial data, has been created in Arc GIS. The spatial elements of the database include various feature classes describing village boundaries, drainage, transportation network, and contours. The non-spatial elements consist of data related to education, medical, post office, approach road to village, power supply, market/shopping centre, literacy rate and irrigated land area. The education facility has been considered at the levels of nursery, primary, middle and high schools, pre-university college and adult education centre. The medical facilities include, Primary Health Centre (PHC), hospital, community health centre, private health centre, ayurvedic hospital, homeopathic hospital, and veterinary hospital.

    Transportation facility includes metalled roads, unmetalled roads, railway line, national highway, state highway and district highway. Communication facility includes STD, PCO, post-office, telegraphic office and courier service. All the data has been collected by conducting actual field survey for 96 villages in the block.

    All the villages have been categories by computing Village Amenity Index (VAI). For this various indices such as Transportation, Education, Economic, Health, Energy, Communication etc., have been calculated to derive VAI. In order to identify the infrastructure to be provided, a nyaya panchayat has been adopted as the base level for development instead of individual villages. An Operation Research based model with population projection has been adopted for modeling the infrastructure up to 2020 at an interval of 5 years.


    Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishna once remarked that (NIEPA, 2004):

    “The villages of India are vast resources of human energy, intelligence and aspiration, much of goes away in futility. Indian boys and girls start out in life alert, curious, eager to live and learn. The dull hopefulness of their environment kills the spirit in many, so that as men and women they become conservative and inert. Give the villager the picture of good life and health, cleanliness, variety of occupation, place and time for recreation and a feeling that his hopes may be fulfilled and the energies of the people will make a new rural India, fit and fine dwelling place for a great people.”

    India lives in villages, with more than two-thirds of India’s population residing in the rural parts of the country. It is rather surprising that after more than fifty years of India’s independence, India has not been able to provide proper avenues for utilizing this resource. Rural poverty still exists at such an unprecedented scale. Majority of villages in India lack proper education, employment, healthcare and infrastructure, and thus their inhabitants are forced to migrate to cities for a better living. Due to this unprecedented migration to city, Indian cities are getting congested without sufficient place for living and support.

    The PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Area) Model envisages a habitat designed to improve the quality of life in rural areas and also makes special suggestions to remove urban congestion. Further, efficient supply of water and effective waste disposal in every locality are the paramount civic needs. There is a defined minimum size below which a habitat is not viable and competitive within the existing congested city. At the same time, the existing congested city is not economical compared to a new town once the minimum size of expansion is crossed.


    The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in his Independence Day speech on August 15, 2003 declared the launching of PURA with the hope that it will bridge the rural-urban divide and achieve balanced socio-economic development. Elaborating on PURA Hon’ble President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, in his address to the Joint session of Parliament on February 17, 2003 stated (NIEPA, 2004):

    A key element of “Vision 2020” would be providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA). More than two-thirds of the India’s population lives in rural areas. We need to give a new thrust to their all-round development through the provision of four critical connectivities: Physical Connectivity by providing good roads, transport services and quality power; Electronic Connectivity by providing reliable communication networks; Knowledge Connectivity by establishing more professional institutions and vocational training centres, schools with high quality infrastructure, teachers devoted to teaching, production centres for rural artisans, primary centres, recreation centres etc,; and Market Connectivity that will help realize the best value for the products and services of rural people, and constantly expand and enrich employment opportunities for them. The model envisages a holistic habitat that would improve the quality of life in rural areas and also help in decongesting of urban areas.


    The PURA scheme envisages:

    1. Linking a loop of villages by a ring road about 30 km in circumference with frequent bus services. This will integrate the population of all connected villages into one market. Then, these villages become a virtual city with a potential to expand and accommodate 3-5 lakhs population. (Fig 1.)
    2. Compensating farmers for the land acquired from them not by a lump sum but by an annual fee equal to twice the price of the produce they grow. This will give farmers a perpetual inflation protected income.
    3. Sub-leasing the land to employers both for business and for employee residences within walking distance of each other. This will virtually eliminate daily commuting to work, an unavoidable evil in city living.

    This scheme has the following advantages:

    1. No capital is required to acquire land for development.
    2. The ring design distributes businesses all round. Then, instead of a Central Business District (CBD), there will be a Circularly Distributed Business District that will be free from congestion and pollution.
    3. Further, ring design will also halve the length of all infrastructures (roads, water pipes, drains, power and telecom lines, sewage system etc.).
    4. Rainwater harvesting becomes simple; domestic wastes can be recycled locally. So, neither water nor waste need be transported over long distances (Fig 2).
    recycling COMPONENTS OF PURA

    Fig. 3 below depicts various the components of PURA, with the aim of speeding up the process of achieving total rural prosperity. For best results, all the connectivities have to be developed in synchronism. Each of the connectivity has a minimum threshold level, below which it is unviable. These connectivities are described briefly in following sections.

    1. Physical Connectivity

      Physical connectivity relates to easy movement of people and goods, access to schools, health centres and markets. At present, in rural India there are inadequate roads, rail and public infrastructure and the task of physical connectivity is to organize these in a cluster of 10 or more villages. These cluster of villages need to be provided physical connectivity near ring roads. To provide physical connectivity, low cost buses, preferably driven by batteries energized by renewable energy sources, and powered by high efficiency engine would be operated almost throughout the day as shuttle services moving people and goods from village to village and village to school, health centers, fueling stations, farming areas, warehouses, agro-industries and other commercial centers. Thus, the heart of the PURA concept is Physical Connectivity of 10 or more villages by a ring road covering a population of around 30,000 – 50,000 people. Connectivity, thereafter, to a rail network and to a nearest city beyond this village cluster would take off from the ring road. All these roads or links will be of high quality enabling high-speed transportation. (Fig 4)

    2. Electronic Connectivity

      The system oriented approach for the village cluster would require introducing tele-education for farmers and villagers, village internet kiosks, public call-offices, telemedicine-market, e-governance, e-commerce and so on. Thus, the revolution in Information Technology supported by space-based technology would create the needed societal transformation at the grass roots of the country. It also will provide the opportunity for the villagers to collectively locate call centers, business processing outsourcing and software development centres to use outside markets. Thus PURA provides a seamless connection and movement of molecules (people), atoms (material) and electrons (knowledge) (Fig 5.).

    3. Knowledge Connectivity

      Knowledge connectivity will transform the rural area with connectivity in education, healthcare, vocational training, and satellite applications for crops, water and forest management, environment protection and cooperative product marketing. The combination of electronic connectivity and knowledge connectivity will generate literacy movement, tele-education, health care and resource management (Fig 6.).

    4. Economic Connectivity

      The triad of physical, electronic and knowledge connectivity will bring forth the economic connectivity through small-scale industries, agro and food processing, warehouses, micro-power plants, renewable energy and village markets (Fig.7). This will generate larger employment opportunities, women empowerment and improved quality of life. The villages not only improve the quality of life but also maintain the rural beauty and environment. As economy progresses, people will consume newer goods and services. Similarly PURA will have potentiality to export to match the import. The higher the exports, the larger are the import capability and larger the potentials for prosperity. Therefore, export is an essential integral component of economic connectivity.

    Study area

    Laksar block, is situated on the western bank of the Ganga river. It is surrounded by Bahadarabad, Narsan and Khanpur blocks. It is bounded by latitude 28º 38’ 28” E and 28º 51’ 25” E and longitude 77º 56’ 38” N and 78 º 11’ 40” N. The area is covered by Survey of India Topographical Map No 53G/13, 53G/14, 53K/1 and 53K/2. Its total geographical area is 283.60 sq.km. The block has a total of 88 villages with total population of 109224. Fig 8 shows the location map of the Laksar block.

    location-map Data used:
    1. Natural resources data: This consists of information related to geographical area, land use pattern, cropping area, water b8dies and drainage, surface water quality, forest area, etc.
    2. Demographic data: This relates to data regarding total population, scheduled caste and scheduled tribe population, sex ratio, age structure, occupational structure, etc.
    3. Agro-economic data: It comprises of information related to shown cropped and irrigated area, agricultural production, land holding, fertilizer usage, etc.
    4. Socio- economic data: This includes information on industrial and related activities, tourism development and beneficiary of various schemes of development.
    5. Infrastructure data set: It consist of data related to availability and level of various facilities such as education, health, communication, power, transport network, drinking water supply, market, bank, etc.

    Fig 9 shows the flowchart for methodology adopted. Here the important steps are the preparation of geo-spatial database to encompass all types of information. The spatial data contained in various thematic coverages have to be linked to the corresponding non-spatial attributes based upon a defined relationship.


    There are two major aspects for their linkage:

    1. For the spatial database representing thematic information, the linkage may be achieved through user-ID of different features assigned at the time of digitization of the coverage or through feature codes added to the feature attribute table of the coverage. In the present work, a combination of both types of linkages has been adopted.
    2. For administrative maps (i.e., village and block boundary maps), the linkage has been achieved on a one-to-one relation for each village. As per Census report, each village is assigned a unique number known as village location code. Thus, all the 88 villages in the block have a unique village location code assigned to them. The linkage between the spatial villages and their respective attributes in GIS has been defined by using this village location code.

    In order to calculate Village Amenity Index (VAI), a logical analysis is required to be carried where each information is categorized into one of the connectivity and its importance is also defined by a weight factor. Table 1 gives the categorization of each information in terms of connectivity along with the weightage associated. The weightages have been fixed after personal discussions with many experts.

    Determination of Facility Index

    A Facility index is the measure of the importance of a settlement consider the presence of that facility. It can be calculated using a weighted indexing method, as given below: If Ii is the index of particular function “f” of ith village, then :


    where Wj = normalized logical weight of j th function
    Xj = Value or availability of j th function in i th village. n= number of functions / facility available in i th village. Suppose, the education facilty index (EFI) is to be calculated, then


    Where NI = Nursery school Index
    PI = Primary school Index
    MI = Middle school Index
    HI = High school Index
    I = Inter college Index
    PVT = Private school Index


    The data obtained from field survey was entered in to a GIS database and stored in such a manner that it could be retrieved as per need. Since village is the level of data integration, hence village code is used as one of the important parameters. On the basis of the eq 1., various indices such as physical, economic, knowledge and electronic connectivity indices have been calculated.

    Figs 10 shows the distribution of population on a village basis. The criteria of distribution is based on the population criteria as adopted in PMGSY project, while fig 11 shows the distribution of population as per nyaya panchayat basis. Fig 12-25 show the various distribution maps of various levels of attributes and the four connectivities. Fig 26 shows the Village Amenity Index map. Further, amenity index at nyaya-panchayat level have been has been calculated (Fig 27). It is found that Bheekampur is the least developed nyaya-panchayat (Fig 28). Within this nyaya panchayat, 3 villages are found to least developed villages, Fatwa Must, Rampur Raighati and Jashpur Ranjeetpur Must (Fig 29). On basis of this, the suitable amenity development plans can be formulated.

    range-of-values CONCLUSIONS

    Data from different sources have been integrated into generate a robust GIS database. With proper linkage, it has been possible to manipulate the data to generate the various connectivity indices. On the basis of the same, the least developed nyaya panchayat has been identified and also the least developed village. This study should proper a framework for the decision makers to adopt while undertaking rural based development programs.


    The author would like to express its gratitude to DST for providing the necessary funds for undertaking this project. Further, the author would like to thank the members of the expert committee members for their constant advice and critical comments during the course of this project.