Urban mission to add 28 cities, seeks Rs 1.5 lakh crore funding

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 30 2009, 05:51am hrs
The government is working on the expansion of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) by including cities having a population of at least 5 lakh, thus expanding into 28 more cities, and is seeking to raise earmarked funds from Rs 1,00,000 crore to Rs 1,50,000 crore.

JNNURM is the flagship scheme of the ministry of urban development. It currently covers 65 cities, each having a population of at least 10 lakh people and Rs 1,00,000 crore are to be raised by the Centre, state governments and urban local bodies.

We have already sanctioned schemes worth Rs 95,385 crore. Today, we have the problem of plentiful of demand. I am talking to the finance minister and it would be our endeavour to see that the amount under the mission is raised by Rs 50,000 crore, urban development minister S Jaipal Reddy told reporters highlighting the key features of the 100-day agenda of his ministry. The new fund is planned to be raised equally by the union government and states.

Twenty eight more cities would be included in the mission, taking the total number of covered cities to 93, he added. The government is also looking at additional allocation under its Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme in Small and Medium Towns as the present funds of Rs 11,400 crore are nearly exhausted.

As per the memoranda of undertaking signed with the Centre, states that benefit from JNNURM have to undertake reforms, including the repeal of Urban Land Ceiling Act, rationalisation of stamp duty and tax system. While some states have already implemented these reforms, others including Punjab and Rajasthan have not. Warning the erring states and local bodies, Reddy said, If the states or local bodies dont undertake the necessary reforms, we will reduce the flow of funds to them.

In order to create a better pricing mechanism and settle disputes in the housing sector, the government is also working on setting up a regulator. We will work on the shape of this regulator for Delhi in the first 100 days. The regulator in Delhi would act as the model for other states, Reddy said. For this, the government would take up the Real Estate Management (Regulation & Control) Bill for the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.

Concentrating on the economically weaker section of the society and lower income groups, the Delhi Development Authority would build 40,000 flats, for which tender documents have already been made ready, he said. About 10,000 flats would be built for the middle-income group and nearly 15,000 under-construction houses would be made available by 2011.

The government would make focused efforts to finalise the zonal development plans of Delhi, which would ensure private participation in land development as per the notified Delhi Master Plan 2021.

Aimed at improving the transport system in cities, the Centre has proposed 134 kms of metro line at the total cost of Rs 30,418 crore in Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai, the minister said. The NCT of Delhi would be connected to Delhi Metro with Noida link getting commissioned in August this year and the Gurgaon line becoming operational in January 2010, he added. The government would also procure over 15,000 buses for the rapid bus transit system in 61 cities by December 2009, Reddy said.