IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


18th October, 2023 Polity

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Picture Courtesy: www.jansatta.com

Context: The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways announced the approval of seven bridge projects under the Setu Bandhan Scheme in Arunachal Pradesh for the fiscal year 2023-24. These projects, with a cumulative cost of ₹118.50 Crores, aim to enhance connectivity across different regions and foster economic development in the state.

Approved bridges include

  • Bridges over Pacha River in East Kameng District.
  • Bridges in Lower Dibang District
  • Bridge across the river Sigen in Lower Siang District.
  • Bridge over Ngopok River in East Siang District.
  • Bridge over river Panyor in Lower Subansiri District.

Setu Bandhan Scheme


  • The Setu Bandhan Scheme, initiated by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, exemplifies the government's dedication to enhancing rural infrastructure and connectivity. This initiative has played a crucial role in bridging the gap between urban and rural areas in India.
  • The primary goal of the scheme is to connect previously isolated villages and habitations through the construction of different types of bridges. By doing so, it has dismantled physical barriers and facilitated smoother movement of people and goods, which is pivotal for the economic and social development of these areas.
  • The Scheme aims to:
    • Improve inter-state connectivity, especially in rural areas at the borders where state roads do not get the required attention.
    • Reduce congestion and improve traffic flow on roads and railways.
    • Enhance safety for road users and pedestrians.
    • Boost economic development in rural and remote areas.
  • The Scheme has significantly transformed rural India by fostering socio-economic development. It has not only improved access to essential services but has also opened up new opportunities for trade, education, healthcare, and overall progress in remote regions of the country.

Types of Bridges Covered


Road Over Bridges (ROBs) and Road Under Bridges (RUBs): The scheme aims to eliminate level crossings on national highways, enhancing safety and efficiency of transportation.

Bridges on State Roads and Major District Roads: Improved connectivity on state roads has bolstered regional trade and connectivity, benefitting local economies significantly.

Cost-sharing Mechanism

●The Setu Bandhan Scheme operates on a cost-sharing basis between the Central Government and the State Governments. This collaborative effort ensures sustained development and equitable distribution of resources.

Maintenance and Rehabilitation

●In addition to constructing new bridges, the scheme also emphasizes the maintenance and rehabilitation of existing ones. This holistic approach ensures the longevity and functionality of infrastructure, guaranteeing long-term benefits to the communities.

Significance of the Setu Bandhan Scheme

Enhanced Connectivity

●By connecting remote villages with towns and cities, the scheme facilitates easier access to essential services such as healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. People no longer have to travel long distances to access these services, improving their quality of life significantly.

Economic Development

●Improved connectivity leads to economic growth. Businesses can thrive as they can now transport goods and services more efficiently. Farmers can get their produce to markets quickly, reducing wastage and increasing profits. This economic boost helps in poverty reduction and elevates the overall standard of living in the region.

Empowerment of Communities

●The scheme particularly empowers women and marginalized groups. Easier access to education means more girls are likely to attend schools, leading to increased literacy rates among women. Additionally, improved healthcare services empower women to make informed decisions about their health and family planning.

Resilience to Natural Disasters

●Properly constructed bridges and roads are essential during natural disasters. During floods or emergencies, these roads provide safe evacuation routes and enable the swift distribution of aid and relief materials. This not only saves lives but also ensures that affected communities receive timely assistance.

Improved Education Access

●The enhanced connectivity ensures that students can travel to schools and colleges without hindrance. This leads to uninterrupted learning, as students are not cut off from educational institutions due to poor infrastructure. As a result, literacy rates increase, and there is a higher likelihood of students pursuing higher education.

Better Healthcare Services

●The scheme facilitates the establishment of healthcare facilities in remote areas. Timely medical assistance becomes possible, leading to improved health outcomes. Access to essential healthcare services means that preventable diseases can be addressed, and overall community health improves.

Market Access for Artisans and Entrepreneurs

Local artisans and entrepreneurs gain access to broader markets due to improved transportation links. They can sell their products and services in nearby towns and cities, increasing their income. This exposure also encourages entrepreneurship, as individuals are more likely to start their businesses when they have access to markets and resources.

Challenges Faced

  • India's diverse terrain presents geographical challenges in bridge construction. Hilly terrains, rivers, and dense forests often complicate the building process, requiring innovative engineering solutions.
  • Adequate funding is crucial for the successful implementation of the scheme. Budgetary constraints at the state and central levels can impede progress. Finding sustainable financing solutions is imperative.
  • Construction activities, especially in ecologically sensitive areas, raise concerns about environmental impact. Sustainable practices and eco-friendly technologies must be incorporated into the construction process.

Future Prospects

  • Embracing cutting-edge technologies such as 3D modelling, drones, and advanced construction materials can streamline the construction process, making it more efficient and cost-effective.
  • Collaborations with private enterprises can provide additional funding sources and technical expertise. PPPs can accelerate the pace of implementation and ensure high-quality infrastructure.
  • Investing in skill development programs for local communities can empower them to actively participate in the construction process. This not only creates employment opportunities but also fosters a sense of ownership and pride in the local population.


  • The Setu Bandhan Scheme reflects the government's dedication to inclusive development, bridging gaps in India's progress. By enhancing connectivity, economic prospects, and social empowerment, it is fostering a more equitable and prosperous nation, one bridge at a time.


Q. What are the key challenges faced in developing and maintaining effective infrastructure in rural areas, and what strategies can be implemented to address these challenges and improve overall rural development?