New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday said it will launch a new scheme under which self-help groups will run road transport services in backward areas. The “Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY)” is part of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana — National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM). “The self-help groups under DAY-NRLM will run the road transport services in backward areas. It will help provide safe, affordable, and community-monitored rural transport services to connect remote villages with key services and amenities (such as access to markets, education and health) for the overall economic development of backward rural areas,” a Ministry of Rural Development statement said.
“It will also provide additional livelihood avenues for SHGs. The basic outline of AGEY was discussed in a meeting of Transport Ministers of 13 states in June 2016 in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh and all of them appreciated the initiative,” it added. AGEY will be initially implemented in 250 blocks in the country on a pilot basis, with each block provided up to six vehicles for the transport services.
“During the current fiscal, 52 blocks in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal have been approved, with a total provision of Rs 16.06 crore, including government share of Rs 10.16 crore. “The balance funding will be provided by the respective states,” it added. The Community Investment Fund provided to Community Based Organization (CBOs) under DAY-NRLM will be utilised to support SHG members under the initiative. The beneficiary SHG member will be provided interest-free loan up to Rs 6.50 lakh for vehicle purchase by the CBO from its Community Investment Fund. Alternative, the CBO will own the vehicle and lease it to an SHG member for running it and paying lease money to the CBO.