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To accelerate works under AMRUT, Centre has decided to approve action plans for the next three years in one go rather than annual approvals, as 14 states including Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab, got nod for their plans for the remaining period of the scheme. With the approvals, Urban Development Ministry has given nod to about 85 per cent of five-year mission plans with targeted investment of Rs 1 lakh crore by 2019-20 for 500 cities having more than 1 lakh population across the country.
The ministry used to grant yearly approvals to action plans under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), which focuses on ensuring water supply, and improving sewerage network and drainage system.
“We had taken a very important decision… 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,” Urban Development Secretary Rajiv Gauba said.
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.
Gauba said the new practice was launched to enable states plan in a “comprehensive and holistic manner” and in advance to enable timely execution of urban infrastructure projects.
He, however, said the plans for remaining mission period are being approved after due verification of progress of projects approved during the last and current financial years.
On the release of funds, he said it will 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 1 lakh crore by 2019-20, projects only worth Rs 16,000 crore are to be approved by the ministry and this would be done by the end of next month.
With the latest approvals, the total investment nod for Madhya Pradesh for the entire mission period stands at Rs 7,201 crore, Gujarat Rs 4,884 crore, West Bengal Rs 4,035 crore, Rajasthan Rs 3,323 crore, Andhra Pradesh Rs 2,890 crore, Punjab Rs 2,767 crore and Bihar Rs 2,469 crore.
Odisha received a total investment approvals of Rs 1,599 crore, Jammu & Kashmir Rs 593 crore, Goa Rs 207 crore, Tripura Rs 150 crore, Mizoram Rs 140 crore, Chandigarh Rs 85 crore and Meghalaya Rs 81 crore.
Gauba said approval of projects under AMRUT involves scrutiny at three levels – a state level technical committee, state level empowered committee chaired by Chief Secretary, and by the Apex Committee in Ministry of Urban Development.
Under the guidelines, top priority in resource allocation is accorded to ensuring water taps to all urban households in mission cities, besides ensuring water supply of 135 litres per capita and improving sewerage networks, drainage systems, non-motorised transport and development of green and open spaces.