With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to launch the Smart City and AMRUT projects on June 25, government sources state that the two ambitious urban schemes will be different from Congress-led UPA’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) as it will devolve powers — for project sanctioning and scrutiny — to the participating states.
Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu said, “Under Smart Cities and AMRUT, more power will be given to states to prioritise what they need and this will be done taking MPs from the states in to confidence.” Ministry sources said that disbursal of funds would be linked to a set of 11 reforms undertaken by the states, as against 23 reforms that were outlined in the UPA’s flagship scheme. These reforms would be related to governance, citizens’ services, wider digitisation and the government’s Swachh Bharat initiative along with few of the existing reforms mandated in JNNURM. The reforms as well as the devolution of powers are detailed in guidelines for the two missions that will be released on the launch date.
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“Unlike JNNURM, which was project-based, the new missions will be programme-based. The states are only expected to forward their proposals and rough cost estimates. Everything from there on, from preparing and sanctioning Detailed Project Report, estimates, the kind of technology to be used and tender conditions, will be done with the states in the driving seat,” said a Ministry source.
“Moreover, the Centre has accepted the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations to increase states’ share of divisible central taxes. There would, of course, be monitoring tools to track the progress of reforms and schemes undertaken by states under the two missions,” he said.
While cities will have to compete with each other to be among the 100 selected under the Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) — covering 500 cities — will essentially be a revised version of the JNNURM. The two together will have an outlay of Rs 1 lakh crore over the next five years.