In the Age of the Robots and Space Science, there are still many places in India where there are no proper facilities for transportation, food, health, and shelter. Out of which the Transportation issue is what we are going to discuss today in this article. There are no proper roads, highways, and bridges connected to the rural villages due to which the farmers, women, children etc suffer a lot of issues.
Therefore to improve these conditions the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi has introduced a new scheme to develop and improve the transportation facility in the rural areas. The scheme was called as the Pradhan Mantri Gram Parivahan Yojana Scheme.
The Main Objective of the Yojana is to provide subsidies to the rural population to buy passenger vehicles like minivans, small buses etc. Proper roads and other modes of transportation are the strong initiatives for the development. This is a move started by the Government to boost the transportation facilities in the rural places in India.
Recently, the government of India has also launched another sub – scheme under Deendayal Antodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY – NRLM) i.e. “Ajeevika Grameen Express Yojana” (AGEY) which is also an extension of Pradhan Mantri Gram Parivahan Yojana.
The objective behind introducing this scheme is to provide means of support for the members of SHGs (Self – help groups) under DAY – NRLM, so that they can run public transport services in backward rural areas, as identified by the States.
It also ensures the empowerment of women by who belong to the self help groups (SHGs) by providing an alternate livelihood by financially helping to operate public transport services in backward rural areas.
And the scheme would be executed in two ways which are as follows:
- Interest Free Loan
- The beneficiary SHG member will be provided an interest free loan by the CBO from its Community Investment Fund up to Rs.6.50 lakh for purchase of the vehicle
- The members of the self – help group would get a maximum period of 6 years to repay the loan they have taken. And bear all the cost connected with the operation of the vehicle, including annual cost of insurance, road tax, permit cost, maintenance cost and all the running costs of the vehicle.
- Once the member of the self – help group successfully repays the loan, the ownership of the vehicle will be transferred to the SHG group.
- Vehicles on lease
- Community Based Organization (CBO) will have a possession of a vehicle and then lease it out to a member of the self – help group to run the vehicle and the member shall pay monthly lease rental to the CBO. CBO will also ensure that the lease amount is reasonable so that the cost of the vehicle can be easily recovered from the SHG member over a maximum period of 6 years in the form of lease rental.
- Also, at the time of recovering the lease rental, no interest is charged on the loan amount.
- Annual cost of insurance, road tax, permit cost and maintenance cost including replacement of tyres will be borne by the CBO. The maximum funding for such items shall not exceed Rs. 2.00 lakhs per vehicle per CBO for the duration of the scheme from 2017-18 to 2019 – 20
- The annual cost of the vehicle and routine maintenance (such as fuel, oil, engine oil, servicing etc) shall be borne by the SHG member.
Eligibility Criteria of the beneficiaries for Ajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY)
To avail the benefits of Ajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY), the members of the Self Help Group (SHGs) are required to be literate. And also they are required to hold valid commercial driving license in order to drive the vehicle.
Also, if the member of the SHG decides to appoint a driver to operate the vehicle, the salary of the driver should be borne by the SHG member out of earning from the operation of the vehicle.
Key matters of the Scheme
This scheme will be implemented in nearly 250 blocks for a period of over (2017 – 18 to 2019 – 20) with each block provided up to 6 vehicles in order to operate the transport services. However, during the present year i.e. 2017 – 18, the scheme has been approved to nearly 8 blocks such as Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.
And these blocks are selected by states from those blocks where National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), which is being implemented intensively and where mature CBOs are already functioning.
Guideline factors in selection of Blocks and Routes
As per the guidelines, the members of the self – help groups are required to operate the vehicle on the approved routes at pre – determined frequency as jointly agreed between the CBO and the SHG operator based on financial viability and the need for transport link.
Also under this scheme, no second hand vehicle is permitted so as to avoid the higher maintenance and operating cost as decided by the government.
In order to ensure the identity, all the vehicles under the scheme shall have a defined colour code and carry “AGEY” branding on the body of the vehicle, which will also help to avoid diversion to other routes.
And the charges per trip will be fixed jointly by the operator and the CBO subject to rules and regulations of the Transport Department of the State Administration.
Ajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY) if executed properly will bring positive changes in the lives of the women running the self help groups.