Infrastructure is the backbone of any country. It plays a very important role in supporting nation’s economic growth and the same is the case with India. If we talk about rural infrastructure in the country, then it is crucial for agriculture, agro-industries and poverty alleviation in the rural areas.

Typically, rural infrastructure in the country encompasses rural roads, major dams and canal works for irrigation and drainage, rural housing, rural water supply, rural electrification and rural telecommunication connectivity.

Importance of rural infrastructure in India

Basically, rural infrastructure has the potential to provide basic amenities to people that can improve their quality of life. To give an example, development of rural infrastructure can lead to improved access to market centres for the rural producers, better availability of inputs and raw materials at reduced prices and improved mobility.

Here is a look at how different sections of rural infrastructure play their role in improving the rural economy as well as life of the people...

1. Rural road infrastructure: It provides mobility and connectivity to people living in rural areas. It also provides the much needed boost to agricultural activities by making available water, seeds and other raw materials to the farmers. By improving connectivity, rural roads also enhance employment opportunities for the rural people in non-agriculture sector, thereby, increasing livelihood opportunities. Rural roads also ensure that the rural areas are served with better public services and all the benefits offered by the state reach the far-flung areas easily. They can even provide access to education and health services.

2. Rural electrification infrastructure: It basically caters well to the requirements of agriculture and other activities including irrigation pumpsets, small and medium industries, khadi and village industries, cold storage chains, healthcare and education

3. Rural water supply system: It can lead to sustainability of systems and sources and tackle the problem of water quality, thereby, increasing good health of people.

4. Rural housing infrastructure: It has the potential to improve living standard of the people.

Overall and as per various studies, development of rural power, irrigation, water, sanitation and road infrastructure can increase productivity, savings, income and tourism and result in better jobs and health of rural people.

Scope for development of rural infrastructure in India

1. As per the road statistics published by central government for the year 2012-13, rural roads span 60.39 km of every 100 km. The sad part is that most of these rural roads in the country are in bad shape i.e., they are of poor quality, potholed and unable to withstand the loads of heavy farm equipment, thereby, affecting the rural population’s quality of life and ability of the farmers to transport their produce to the market. Further, the rural surfaced road is just 33 per cent of the total rural road network in India and remaining are kutcha roads which are highly vulnerable and inaccessible particularly during the rainy season. Thus, there is increasing need for surfaced rural roads in the country.

2. Living conditions of people in rural areas has still not improved much and there are majority who live in kutcha houses which are highly vulnerable to rainfall, wind blow, fire and other environmental hazards. Hence, good rural housing infrastructure is needed in the country.

3. As per the Census 2011, still 45 per cent of the rural households are not connected with electricity and depend on kerosene and other means for lighting. Hence, rural electrification infrastructure is needed to make the lives of rural people better.

4. Although there are schools in the rural areas but they lack in terms of the number of classrooms, availability of safe drinking water facilities, toilet facilities etc. Hence, the education infrastructure in rural India also needs a lot more improvement.

5. It goes without saying that the health infrastructure is poorly developed in rural India. Even if it is there, there are no good doctors because the rural areas have very low connectivity and doctors or skilled health workers are unable to access these areas. This poses a great threat to the lives of rural population in the country.

6. As per the reports from Census 2011, merely 30 per cent of rural areas are covered with tap water supply. In addition, the sanitation facilities in the rural areas are also not adequate. Thus, there is huge scope for developing drinking water infrastructure and sanitation facilities in the rural areas.

With these points, it is clear that there is huge scope for development of all kinds of infrastructure in rural areas. In fact, the gaps in the rural infrastructure need to be addressed properly and as fast as possible so as to achieve redistributive growth and alleviate poverty in the country.

Keeping these things in mind, government has taken various proactive steps to boost rural infrastructure. In the Union Budget 2017-2018, an allocation of Rs 19,000 crore has been made towards the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to connect far-flung habitats. The rural housing scheme has received more than Rs 9,000 crore and the allocation for rural electrification scheme has been increased by Rs 4,814 crore in the Union Budget 2017-2018. Under the Swachh Bharat Program, the government has taken up the task of construction of individual, cluster and community toilets. All these initiatives are good but still there is huge scope further in rural infrastructure development.

Impact of rural infrastructure growth on construction equipment

With the focus shifting on developing rural infrastructure including roads, houses, electrification projects, irrigation facilities and other infrastructure development, the need for construction equipment is also increasing to develop such infrastructure. This has led to growth of many indigenous construction equipment manufacturers in the country. Of all the names, one company that has highly contributed in the rural infrastructure development in the country is Mahindra Construction Equipment (MCE).

MCE offers the Mahindra EarthMaster backhoe loaders and RoadMaster G75 motor graders which are the most affordable and incomparable indigenous equipment in the country at the present that meet all the rural infrastructure development needs. The two equipment are equipped with latest technologies and intelligent features to boost productivity and are suited to work in any environment and terrain of the country.

In a nutshell

The scope for rural infrastructure development is huge in the country and this is expected to give a boost to the construction equipment industry in India.