Taking a major step in its bid to recast the country’s urban landscape, the Union Cabinet Wednesday approved Central government spending worth Rs 98,000 crore under two new urban missions over the next five years.
Chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Cabinet cleared the Smart Cities Mission — under which 100 smart cities would be built — and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for 500 cities with outlays of Rs 48,000 crore and Rs 50,000 crore, respectively.
Under the Smart Cities Mission, each selected city would get central assistance of Rs 100 crore per year for five years, the government said.
Cities to be developed will be selected through a ‘competition’ intended to ascertain their ability to achieve mission objectives. Each state will shortlist a number of smart city aspirants, which will prepare proposals for the Centre.
The aim of the mission is to more efficiently utilise available assets, resources and infrastructure to enhance quality of urban life and provide a clean and sustainable environment.
“There will be special emphasis on participation of citizens in prioritising and planning urban interventions. It will be implemented through ‘area based’ approach, which includes retrofitting, redevelopment, pan-city initiatives and development of new cities,” the government said.
“Under retrofitting, deficiencies in an identified area will be addressed through necessary interventions, like in the case of Local Area Plan for downtown Ahmedabad. Redevelopment enables reconstruction of an area that is already built but not amenable for any interventions… like in the case of Bhendi Bazar in Mumbai and West Kidwai Nagar in New Delhi. Pan-city components could be interventions like intelligent transport solutions that benefits residents by reducing commuting time,” it added.
The focus will be on core infrastructure services like adequate and clean water supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transportation, affordable housing for the poor, power supply, robust IT connectivity, governance, especially e-governance, and citizen participation.
AMRUT, which seeks to lay a foundation to enable cities and towns to eventually grow into smart cities, will be implemented in 500 locations with a population of one lakh and above. These include cities situated on stems of main rivers, a few capital cities and important cities located in hilly areas and tourist spots. Under this mission, states will get flexibility of designing schemes that best suit their needs.
States will only submit annual action plans to the Centre for broad concurrence, based on which funds will be released.
AMRUT is the new avatar of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). But in a significant departure from the earlier mission, the Centre will not appraise individual projects.
The central assistance will be 50 per cent of project cost for cities and towns with a population of up to 10 lakh and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakh, the government said. The Cabinet also approved Central funding under AMRUT to projects which were sanctioned under JNNURM but not completed.
The government also said that following Wednesday’s Cabinet approval, a minimum investment of over Rs 2 lakh crore would flow into urban areas over the next five years since states and urban local bodies would mobilise matching resources ranging from 50 per cent to 66 per cent. In addition, substantial private investments would be mobilised by states and urban local bodies through PPP model, as required, to meet project costs.