Positive private sector interest in PURA
More than 93 companies have responded very positively towards the notice inviting ‘expression of interest’ under the implementation of Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) sponsored by the Ministry of Rural Development under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Frame work. The companies that have sent proposals in this regard include TATA Power, TATA Reality & Infrastructure, Jamshedpur Utility Services Limited, Jindal Steels & Power, Apellon Energy (Ahmedabad), IL&FS, IDFC, Drishti, SPNLInfra, IVRCL Infraprojects, SPEI, NEPC (Chennai), Unity Infrastructure (Mumbai), SVEC Constructions Limited (Hyderabad), ACC , IFFCO and Reliance Energy.
Elaborating the modalities of scheme,the Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser in the M/o Rural Development Shri Arvind Mayaram said subsequent to the finalization of the proposals a tripartite agreement would be signed between the Ministry, the State Government and the Private Partner. A time frame of 13 years has been fixed for the success of schemes. The proposed business model has been combined with the infrastructure development.
The scope of the Scheme would be to develop livelihood opportunities, urban amenities and infrastructure facilities of the prescribed service standards and to be responsible for maintenance of the same for a period of ten years. The selected private partner would be required to provide amenities like water supply and sewerage, village streets, drainage, solid waste management, street lighting, telecom, electricity generation, development of economic activity and skill development in a Panchayat/or a cluster of Panchayats as part of the PURA Project.
The selected private partner may also provide ‘add-on’ revenue-earning facilities such as village linked tourism, integrated rural hub, rural market, agri-common services centre and warehousing, any other rural-economy based project in addition to the above mentioned amenities.
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. The Scheme envisages convergence of funding from various ongoing schemes of Central Government, private financing and capital grant, wherever required.
The private partners selected for this scheme will work for a Gram Panchayat of 25 to 40 thousand population or a group of geographically connected Gram Panchayats. There may be a group/cluster Project Area but there can also be sub- Projects for each and every Gram Panchayat.
The USP of PURA is the emphasis on convergence of several rural development schemes under a single PURA project and the marriage between the public interest orientation of the Government and the profit orientation of the private sector. Such a comprehensive and complex project structuring for rural development is being attempted for the first time in the world. The unprecedented interest shown by the private sector validates the credibility of the scheme. It is expected that the results will be in positive direction in setting new norms of rural infrastructure development, a statement said.