To enable states to plan the execution of their projects under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) in a comprehensive and holistic manner, the Centre has decided to approve action plans for the next three years at one go rather than annual approvals.
On Friday, 14 states, including Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab, got nod for their plans for the remaining period of the scheme.
The AMRUT mission, under the Union urban development ministry, is aimed at ensuring water supply, sewerage networks, drainage and urban transport for urban transformation.
Following the approvals, the urban development ministry has now given its nod to around 85 per cent of five-year mission plans with targeted investment of Rs 1 lakh crore by 2019-20. The plan covers 500 cities with population of more than 1 lakh each.
The decision comes in contrast to the earlier practice where the ministry used to grant yearly approvals to action plans under the AMRUT.
Interacting with the media, Rajiv Gauba, secretary (urban development), said: “Rather than the usual practice of sanctioning plans every year, we decided to approve them for the remaining three years of the mission in one go … This initiative was launched to enable the states plan in a comprehensive and holistic manner and in advance to enable timely execution of urban infrastructure projects related to water supply, sewerage networks, drainage, urban transport and green and open spaces under AMRUT.”
He, however, added that the plans for remaining mission period are being approved after due verification of progress of the projects approved during the last and the current financial years.
He said the ministry has approved investment plans of 14 states for the next three financial years.
The investment plans approved in the latest round included for Madhya Pradesh (Rs 2,494 crore), Gujarat (Rs 2,279 crore), West Bengal (Rs 1,536 crore), Rajasthan (Rs 1,232 crore), Andhra Pradesh (Rs 1,350 crore), Punjab (Rs 1,200 crore), Bihar (Rs 1,030 crore) and Odisha (Rs 607 crore). Jammu and Kashmir got investment approvals worth Rs 225 crore, Goa Rs 80 crore, Tripura Rs 64 crore, Mizoram Rs 53 crore, Chandigarh Rs 62 crore and Meghalaya Rs 31 crore.
On the release of funds, he said it would be linked to implementation of urban governance reforms by city and state governments, including e-governance, improving efficiency of water and power use, increasing efficiency of revenue collection, single-window clearance for construction permits, and credit rating of municipal bodies.
For credit rating of municipal bodies, Gauba said it encompasses a wide range of governance and accounting aspects and the mindset of political and administrative leadership.
“We expect most of the 500 mission cities to be credit rated by March next year and 57 million plus population cities to put in place online single-window clearance mechanisms by March next year,” he said.
Investment approvals have been “fast-tracked” in 2016. Gauba said that out of the total targeted investment of Rs 1 lakh crore by 2019-20, projects worth only Rs 16,000 crore are to be approved by the ministry and this would be done by the end of next month.