Housing, urban schemes give primacy to people’s vision

Modi launches Housing for All and Smart Cities missions.

Launching flagship programmes for urban development and housing on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only sought to give more powers to the States but also called for giving residents the mandate to decide how urban areas should emerge.

At the launch of the Housing for All, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Smart Cities schemes, he said it was the first time that residents were being challenged to formulate a development vision for their cities. The competitive mechanism would end the top-down approach and lead to people-centric urban development.

Under AMRUT, 500 cities are targeted for development. The Smart Cities scheme will target development of 100 cities over five years and Housing for All envisages construction of two crore houses in urban areas in seven years.

AMRUT, which replaces the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, will give the States and the Union Territories the liberty and flexibility in formulation, approval and execution of projects.

(Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the Smart Cities Mission in New Delhi. Photo: V. Sudershan)

The major common provisions incorporated in the guidelines of the new schemes include objective criteria for selection of cities and allocation of funds.

New flagship programmes have mechanisms against delay

Under the Smart City scheme launched on Thursday, each selected city will be provided Central assistance of Rs. 100 crore a year. Under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), allocation of funds will be as per urban population and the number of cities and towns in each State or Union Territory. Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in urban areas, the allocation will be based on the number of urban poor and slum dwellers.

To avoid delays and non-completion of projects on account of lack of resources, the States and the Union Territories will now be required to indicate firmly resource tie-ups under State-level action plans. Consultations with urban citizens have been made mandatory to ensure need-based and bottom-up planning of projects.

State-level action plans for convergence with other Central and State government schemes for resource maximisation, PPP models for resource mobilisation and involvement of members of Parliament and Assemblies in formulation and monitoring of projects are also included in the revamped schemes.

Under AMRUT, projects without availability of land and clearances will not be included in the Mission. Funds will have to be transferred to urban local bodies within seven days.

Cities will be chosen under the Smart Cities Mission through a two-stage competition. In the first stage, each State and Union Territory will rank all their cities based on a set of criteria and nominate the top scorers as per the indicated number of potential smart cities for participation in Stage 2 of the competition.

Women’s empowerment has been made a component of the Housing for All scheme that envisages houses for all by 2022. Ownership of houses will be in the name of women or jointly with the husband. The average Rs. 1-lakh grant for a house to be provided by the Centre can be used by the States for slum redevelopment projects to make them viable.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 7:50:24 AM |

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