Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Venkaiah Naidu, Urban development minister of India unveiled three ambitious Government schemes that aim to align up urban India. Three schemes with an expected expenditure of around ₹4 trillion over the next few years would work towards building 100 smart cities, 500 cities under AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) and Housing for all by 2022 to embark India’s 75th year of Independence aim to provide housing to around 2 Crores Indian, women and weakest sections getting priority in allotment of funds.

Narendra Modi said, “private property developers should not decide how a city should grow and the decision should be taken by residents and the city leadership. Under these schemes, we can go ahead and we can do it together (Centre and state). India is rapidly urbanising. Every year Hindustan gives birth to a small country,”. As per 2001 Census, 72.2% of the population lived in about 638,000 villages and the remaining 27.8% lived in more than 5,100 towns and over 380 urban centres. By 2022, it’s expected that about 40% population will dwell in cities or urban agglomerations. With rapidly increasing urbanization India’s major cities are now facing great social issues including housing problems, waste disposal and shortage of electric power which need to be addressed with proper technical and administrative expertise in order to bring up the standard of living. Smart cities and AMRUT focuses on such issues, Housing For All scheme would work for people below poverty line while under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, the selection will be based on the number of urban poor and slum dwellers. Narendra Modi said, “Every person dreams of having his or her own home, but a home is not just about having a roof and four walls. Once a person owns his home, he starts dreaming about decorating it, for which he starts working harder. A house results in self-motivation.”

SMART CITIES: Under this scheme, ‘City Challenge Competition‘, would be held, each state and Union territory will score 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 the stage-2 of competition. The evaluation criteria for stage-1 of competition within the state/UT involves points system, such as existing service levels (25 points), institutional systems and capacities (15 points), self-financing (30 points) and past track record (30 points). Top 20 scorers will be chosen and funded by the centre for the financial year 2015-2016. In the list of nominations, Uttar Pradesh lead with 13 smart cities, Tamil Nadu will receive 12 smart cities. Maharashtra will get 10 cities while Karnataka and Gujarat will get 6 each. West Bengal and Rajasthan has been allocated 4 smart cities. Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab three each and Odisha, Haryana, Telangana and Chhattisgarh will get 2 smart cities each. Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Jharkhand, Assam, Himachal, Goa, Arunachal and Chandigarh, along with National Capital New Delhi will get one smart city each.

What are smart cities? Smart cities will have smart physical, social, institutional and economic infrastructure. They will effectively leverage information and communication technologies to achieve digital governance, minimise energy consumption, and improve sustainability, quality of life and sanitation, delivery of services, and the efficient use of resources. Smart cities would also be environment-friendly to ensure a proper balance between development and sustainability.

HOUSING FOR ALL:  This scheme focuses on providing affordable housing units to all homeless by 2022. Under this scheme, government aims to develop 2 crore affordable housing units for the urban poor by granting a subsidy of Rs 1 Lakh to 2.30 Lakh per house. This will come as part of a 6.5 percent interest rate subsidy scheme  which means that the applicants from lower-income groups who avail the housing scheme may apply for a housing loan with interest subsidy of 6.5 percent. Over the next seven years, this scheme will cost central Government ₹3 Lakh crore.

AMRUT: Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation or AMRUT will aim for 500 Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. For AMRUT, states have been asked to recommend cities which can be included under this scheme. Central Government will provide 30% of the overall cost if the city has a population of more than 10 lakh; and 50% if under 10 lakh.  Number of nominated cities under AMRUT:














Contributor: Shivaji Singh