States to have greater say in three flagship schemes

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being briefed about the Smart Cities Mission in New Delhi on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being briefed about the Smart Cities Mission in New Delhi on Thursday.  

The Prime Minister on Thursday launched three missions on Smart Cities, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, and Housing for All.

States and Union Territories will have a greater say in implementation of the three flagship schemes for urban development launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, as per the guidelines issued.

Operational guidelines for implementation of Smart Cities, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation ( AMRUT) and Housing for All by 2022 in urban areas were released at the launch of these three mega projects.

According to the guidelines, the states and Union Territories will have full liberty and flexibility in formulation, approval and execution of projects under the three missions.

The Centre has virtually withdrawn from the earlier practice of appraising and sanctioning individual projects, thereby ending the scope for subjectivity and discretion.

Based on the learnings of implementation of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) that ended up in “sub-optimal physical and financial performance”, Urban Development and Housing for Urban Poverty Alleviation ministries have sought to ensure timely sanction and execution and certainty of resources for various projects and participation of citizens in identifying development needs under the new urban schemes.

The major new provisions incorporated in the guidelines and common to all the three urban missions include objective criteria for selection of cities and allocation of funds.

Smart City project aims development 100 Smart Cities while 500 cities are being identified under AMRUT. Housing for All renamed as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana envisages construction of 2 crore affordable houses for poor in urban areas.

According to the guidelines, potential Smart Cities and AMRUT cities are to be based on an objective and equitable criteria giving equal weightage to urban population and number of statutory cities in each State/UT.

The ‘Housing for All’ mission is to be implemented in all the 4,041 statutory cities/towns.

For smart city development, each selected city will be provided central assistance of Rs 100 cr per year while under AMRUT, allocation of funds will be as per urban population and number of cities/towns in each state/UT.

The guidelines allow States/UTs to appraise and approve individual projects unlike in the past when Union Urban Ministry to do so.

To avoid delays and non-completion of projects on due to lack of resources, States/UTs will now be required to firmly indicate resource tie ups under state level action plans.

To enhance urban governance, clear action plans for timely implementation of identified reforms need to be indicated and consultations with urban citizens made mandatory to ensure need based and bottom up planning of projects.

The public-private partnership model shall be the main resource of resource mobilisation and there will be involvement of MPs and MLAs in formulation and monitoring of projects.

Under AMRUT, states shall transfer funds to urban local bodies within 7 days of transfer by central government and no diversion of funds be made, failing which penal interest would be charged besides taking other adverse action by the centre.

The guidelines stipulate a set of 11 reforms to be implemented in four years including promoting e-governance, improving collection of various taxes, fee and user charges, Augmenting double entry accounting, constitution and professionalisation of municipal cadre, preparation of GIS based Master Plans, devolution of funds and functionaries to urban local bodies, review of building by-laws, setting up financial intermediaries for pooling and disbursement of resources, credit rating of urban local bodies, energy and water audit and achieving Swachh Bharat milestones.

Action Plans should provide for operation and maintenance costs for assets created for at least five years based on user charges.

Instead of penalising States/urban local bodies for non-implementation of reforms by linking fund release with progress on reforms resulting in delays, the guidelines now provide for incentivising reforms by earmarking 10 per cent of annual allocation to be allocated to good performers at the end of each year.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 6:43:16 PM |

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