Union Minister for Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said that the first list of 20 cities out of the 98 short-listed for the Smart Cities Mission would be out by the month-end. The Ministry has no role in the selection of the cities and an expert committee set up by the Ministry is looking into it, Mr. Naidu said.
Speaking to presspersons here, the Minister said that the number of cities to be chosen for the Smart City project would remain the same — 98, as per the timetable brought out by the Ministry.
During the first year (2016), 20 cities would be selected, while the next two years will see the inclusion of 40 and 38 cities, respectively, Mr. Naidu said. Mangaluru, Shivamogga, Hubballi-Dharwad, Belagavi, Tumakuru and Davangere are among the 98 short-listed cities from the State.
Mr. Naidu said that the Narendra Modi government at the Centre is determined to pursuing the agenda of development despite all the hurdles being created by the Opposition parties. There has been a 48 per cent increase in foreign direct investment in the country, while the government is encouraging local entrepreneurship through different schemes, the Minister said.The Mudra scheme brought out by the government has so far financed Rs. 92,000 crore for micro entrepreneurs, including autorickshaw drivers and fishermen. The target is to finance Rs. 1.25 lakh crore by this March-end, Mr. Naidu said. Similarly, over 19 crore new bank accounts have been opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, the Minister pointed out.
The Minister stated that the NDA government is keen on bringing about national integration and taking the entire country together on the path of development. The Prime Minister conducted a meeting of State Agriculture Ministers recently in Sikkim, the first organic farming State of the country.
The meeting of director-generals of police of States was held last year in Guwahati and this year in Kutch, the two corners of the country. With all these efforts, the Prime Minister is spreading the messaging of national unity, Mr. Naidu said.