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National Rurban Mission (NRuM)

National Rurban Mission

National Rurban Mission (NRuM)

The Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission/SPMRM, or commonly known as the National Rurban Mission/NRuM, is an attempt of turning India’s rural areas into sustainable regions in terms of social, economic and physical aspects. This Rurban Mission strives to strengthen our rural areas by providing essential amenities that will help promote balanced regional development in the country. The core of this Mission is to strive for Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of Gram Swaraj that makes rural areas their own republic. This article talks about the National Rurban Mission (NRuM)/Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) and the various aspects of the same.


According to a particular statistics report issued by the Census of India, the rural population of India stands at 833 million. At that point in time, this number represented almost 68% of the country’s total population. Furthermore, to understand the importance of such a mission, it is essential to review rural growth between the 2001-2011 period. Studies show that there has been a 12% growth and an increase in the number of villages by a staggering 2279 units during this period.

Large parts of India’s rural areas are not stand-alone settlements, but a part of a cluster of settlements. They are relatively situated in close proximity to each other. These clusters generally illustrate the potential for growth, have economic drivers, derive locational and competitive advantages. Therefore, these clusters, once developed, may be classified as ‘rurban’. Hence, considering this, the Government of India has proposed the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) or the National Rurban Mission (NRuM) to aim at developing such rural regions by providing essential economic, social and physical infrastructure facilities.

This Mission has also been formulated on the economical as well as infrastructural advantages of clusters. The Mission aims to develop over 300 rurban clusters in the next 5 years. These clusters would be provided with the required amenities that will strengthen them. The resources for this will be mobilised through the convergence of multiple schemes of the Government, over and above which Critical Gap Funding (CGF) would be offered as a part of this Mission in order to focus on the development of these clusters.


The following is the vision statement of the National Rurban Mission.

Development of a cluster of villages where the essence of rural community life would be preserved and nurtured while focussing on equity and inclusiveness, without compromising on urban amenities, and therefore, creating a cluster of “Rurban Villages”.


The following is the objective of the National Rurban Mission.

The objective of the National Rurban Mission, or commonly known as NRuM, is to promote local economic development while enhancing basic services and creating well planned Rurban clusters.

Mission Outcomes

The following are the outcomes that are envisaged under the National Rurban Mission.

  • To bridge the rural-urban division with respect to the economy, technology and any divisions based on facilities and services.
  • To promote local economic development while actively reducing poverty and unemployment in such rural areas.
  • To spread and promote development in all aspects of such regions.
  • To attract investments in these rural areas.

Mission Process

A State would be required to follow a step by step approach in order to culminate in cluster identification, preparation of ICAPs, DPRs and submission of the CGF applications. The steps to kick start the Mission in a particular State is as follows:

Designation of a State Level Nodal Agency (SNA)

States are required to identify a State Nodal Agency (SNA) for purposes of the National Rurban Mission (NRuM). An agency under the administrative domain of the Rural Development of the State Government or Panchayati Raj Department is preferred, as the case may be.

Constitution of a SLeC

The State is then required to constitute a State Level Empowered Committee or the SLEC. This committee will be headed by the Chief Secretary, for approval of ICAPs and DPRs.

Identification of State-technical Support Agencies (StSAs)

These are reputed institutions that are empanelled by the Ministry, and engaged by the States, in order to offer support and assistance in the selection of clusters, preparation of ICAPs and spatial plans. They guide and hand-hold the State through the entire processes.

Selection of Clusters

The SNA, with the support from STSAs, will be identifying Rurban clusters with the help of a methodology that is highly recommended by the Ministry. After consultation with the District Collector/CEO of the Zilla Parishad/DDO, and closely involving the Gram Panchayat, the clusters will be selected.

Approvals of the Rurban cluster

The SLEC will approve the selected Rurban clusters. Then, the same will be submitted to the Ministry for further approval. Along with this, the consent of the concerned State will be submitted. This will notify the selected clusters as planning areas under the relevant State Act.

Setting up of District Level Committees

The District-level Committee will be formed and would comprise of officers of the concerned line Departments and Sarpanchs from the concerned Gram Panchayats.

Preparation of ICAPs

The SNA will then begin to prepare ICAPs. This will be executed with the support from STSAs, as well as in consultation with the District Collector/CEO of the Zilla Parishad/DDO and by closely involving the Gram Panchayats.

Setting up of State Project Management Unit (SPMU)

The SNA will constitute a State Project Management Unit (SPMU). This will be set up in the Department in order to support the SNA in the Mission.

Setting up of District Project Management unit (DPMu) & Cluster Development and Management unit (CDMu)

Then, the SNA may set up the DPMU and CDMU. The DPMU comprises up to 3 professionals who would include a regional planning professional, convergence specialist and rural development professional. This will be set up at the District Collector’s Office or the Office of the CEO of the Zilla Parishad.

On the other hand, the CDMU will be set up for every Rurban cluster and comprises of a minimum of two professionals who are the Spatial Planning Professional and the Rural Development and Management Professional.

Approval & Vetting of ICAP by SLeC

The ICAPs, along with CGF application, and with the investment estimates, will be submitted by the SNA to the SLEC for further approvals.

Submission of ICAPs & CgF application to Ministry

The ICAPs & CGF application that is duly approved by the SLEC will be submitted to the Ministry for further appraisal and approval.

Preparation of DPRs

After the ICAP approval by the Ministry, the SNA will prepare DPRs for various individual components as identified in the ICAP. The SNA will also obtain approvals for every DPR from their respective line departments. This will be obtained by keeping to the norms and requirements of the relevant scheme guidelines.

Submission of approved DPRs and CgF applications to the SLeC

Then, the SNA will submit the duly filled CGF Application along with the final project costing. The DPR approvals will also be sent to the SLEC for approval.

Submission of approved CgF application to Ministry

Next, the SNA will submit the SLEC-approved CGF application to the Ministry for further approval.

Commencement of Site activities

After the CGF application is approved, the SNA will commence activities on the site with respect to the components identified and prioritised in the ICAP.

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Project Funding

The selected Rurban cluster will be developed as a project with the identified components. The project shall be developed over a fixed time‐frame of 3 years. This will be achieved by integrating and converging the implementation of the various project components. This will be followed by the Operations and Maintenance Period, which will last for 10 years.

The project shall be considered to be a unit of funding under the NRuM. Funds for the project shall be attained through the convergence of various Centrally Sponsored, Central Sector and State Schemes. The Mission will provide the Critical Gap Funding (CGF) for projects in order to supplement the funds mobilised through the convergence of various schemes.

Convergence of Centrally Sponsored, Central Government and State Government schemes

The convergence of multiple Centrally Sponsored, Central Sector, and State Schemes towards the integrated implementation in a Rurban cluster is a fundamental principle under this Mission. Therefore, it is envisaged that funds from these schemes shall contribute towards the development of the proposed interventions, and is expected to meet a major portion of the capital costs for the projects.

Critical Gap Funding (CGF)

Critical Gap Funding shall be provided in addition to the funds accessible by a project through various schemes. The NRuM will completely fund the CGF with the help of the Ministry. It will bridge the funding gap posed by the availability of scheme funds and will fulfil the development aspirations of the Rurban Cluster. For plain regions, CGF will be capped at 30% of a project capital expenditure or INR 30 Crores, depending on whichever is less. For desert, hilly or tribal areas, CGF will be capped at 30% of a project capital expenditure or INR 15 Crores, depending on whichever is less.

Administrative Costs

National Level

A budget of INR 2.5 Crores per year will be kept aside at the National Mission Directorate in order to support the National Mission Management Unit and other arrangements related to the Mission at the Centre.

State Level

To support the Mission, an administrative budget of 2% of the CGF will be provided for supporting the State Government for project developments, to offer support to SPMUs, DPMUs, CDMU and other arrangements at the State.

Innovation Fund

An additional budget of 5% of CGF will be provided as a part of the innovation budget directed towards the following:

  • Research and Development
  • Funding of State Technical Support Agencies
  • Capacity Building
  • Provisions of awards and recognitions
  • Other Mission-related activities

Fund Release

Release of Administrative Funding

The Ministry will release INR 35 Lakhs per Rurban cluster that is approved in the State for the preparation of ICAPs. This will be adjusted against 2% of the administrative budget for every State.

Fund Release

The funds will be released in three instalments. It will be executed at appropriate stages of the project. The instalments are as follows:

  • First Installment: 30% of the CGF will be released after the approval of ICAP by the Ministry.
  • Second Installment: 30% of the CGF will be released after the submission of the DPR approvals by the SLEC and the approval of the final CGF by the Ministry. This will be followed by the commencement of construction activities at the project site.
  • Third Installment: 40% of the CGF will be released after the submission of Utilisation Certificate as per the GFR rules and after a field visit by the Ministry.

The SNA shall transfer about 35% of the CGF received as Third Installment, and the remaining 5% of the CGF shall be transferred after the completion of the construction of all the project components. The SNA will verify the completion of the project through various site visits. The Report of Completion will be sent to the Ministry for information and to record.