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Best deal for rural India

By Our Staff Correspondent

NEW DELHI, FEB. 28. Rural India gets the best deal in the budget today. In keeping with the spirit of `Bharat Nirman' and PURA (providing urban facilities in rural areas), conceptualised by the President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the focus of the budget is on rural development.

While `Bharat Nirman' has been conceived as a business plan for building infrastructure, especially in rural India, PURA aims at finding possible solutions to a number of problems that afflict the villages such as unemployment, isolation from markets, lack of connectivity and migration to cities.

`Bharat Nirman' has six components of irrigation, roads, water supply, housing, rural electrification and rural telecom connectivity and the Union Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, said the Government believed that it was an achievable project by 2009 with the cooperation of the Panchayati Raj Institutions in its implementation. On the other hand, the Centre has also accepted the proposals for establishing `growth poles' by applying PURA principles with an objective to expand production and employment in the unorganised enterprises around existing clusters of industrial activities and services as well as encourage the formation of new clusters in the next financial year.

The allocation for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme has also been increased to Rs. 11,000 crores and it is the Government's intention to convert this programme into the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which when fully rolled out would provide livelihood security for crores of poor families.

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