Roads to Inclusion - Connecting People, Transforming lives in India

Sericulture farms in India’s northeastern state of Assam, are suddenly witnessing a rush of female workers. Improved connectivity of villages is a major reason for this transformation. Women self-help groups (SHGs) involved in sericulture, a major cottage industry in the region, are happy with the new roads built through forest, as these enable them to use bicycle to collect leaves for larvae, saving both time and effort. Moving south along India’s east coast, a community health center in a rural pocket of the state of Odisha is cramped with patients. Unfazed by the people and noise around, Dr. Prakash Chand Mahate is calmly attending to the increased rush of patients. “Lives are being saved. Ambulances can now reach the villages where there was no road in the past,” he says, testifying to the positive impact of improved connectivity on people’s lives in India’s rural heartland. Such beneficiary testimonies point to the positive socio-economic impacts of improved connectivity. This is what the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) clearly envisaged when the Government of India launched the program in 2000 as part of its poverty reduction strategy.