Stating that the parties in power at the Centre and West Bengal were not enemies but only political rivals, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu Saturday said the two should work together for development.
“We should not consider one another as enemies. We may be political rivals. We are all given the responsibility to develop the country, the state, the urban local bodies,” Naidu told a conference on ‘Urban Governance’ here. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, chairmen of municipal bodies, we all should think in terms of giving attention to development,” he said.
Naidu’s statement came in the wake of Niti Aayog meeting held last week which was not attended by Mamata. “No one from the West Bengal government came,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said after the meeting.
Naidu said there could be competition but, “It should be healthy”. “Each one of us should have proper understanding, cooperation and coordination. This is the need of the hour,” he emphasised. Hakim said that the state government was not getting funds for projects which were sanctioned. The state should get Rs 1,500 crore from the Centre for projects which were cleared, he added.
‘Funding to be based on performance’
At the conference, Naidu also informed that rating will be carried out for municipalities and urban local bodies (ULBs) by credit rating agencies and funding would be linked to their performance.
“There will be gradation of municipal bodies and funding will be based on local bodies’ performance,” Naidu said.
Naidu emphasised on the need for white paper on financial position of ULBs and said they should gradually move toward self-sufficiency. He asked the ULBs to take bold steps and come out of populist measures.