Budget 2018: With maximum increase in allocation to the Smart Cities Mission, the Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) ministry’s budgetary provisions have been pegged at over Rs 41,765 crore for the next fiscal, a hike of 2.82 per cent over 2017-18. The HUA ministry was formed after merging the ‘urban development’ and ‘housing and urban poverty alleviation’ ministries, which had a total outlay of Rs 40,618 crore in Union Budget 2017-18. Smart Cities Mission, under which the ministry has announced 99 cities for central assistance, got the highest hike of 54.22 per cent with Rs 6,169 crore as against Rs 4,000 crore in Budget 2017-18. “I am happy to inform that 99 cities have been selected with an outlay of Rs 2.04 lakh crore. These cities have started implementing various projects,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said while presenting the Union Budget 2018-19.
Highest allocation of Rs 15,000 crore was made for ‘Mass Rapid Transit System’ and ‘Metro Projects’ out the total allocation to the HUA ministry. However, the amount was 16.66 per cent lower than Rs 18,000 crore allocated to them for the current fiscal. Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme was allocated Rs 6,000 crore, a jump of 20 per cent over Rs 5,000 crore in the current fiscal. AMRUT scheme aims at ensuring robust sewage networks, water supply and other infrastructures to improve the quality of life of people in urban areas. Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), one of the flagship programmes of Modi government, got a hike of 8.69 per cent with allocation of Rs 2,500 crore for next fiscal as compared to Rs 2,300 crore in the current financial year.
Stressing that Swachh Bharat Mission has benefited the poor, Jaitley said, under the mission, government has already constructed more than six crore toilets. “The positive effect of these toilets is being seen on the dignity of ladies, education of girls and the overall health of family. Government is planning to construct around 2 crore toilets,” he added. The Swachh Bharat Mission is being implemented by housing and urban affairs ministry in urban areas, while the rural development ministry is responsible for its implementation in rural areas. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) got just 7.64 per cent hike in the allocation at Rs 6,505 crore for 2018-19 as compared to Rs 6,042.81 crore in 2017-18.
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The ministry, however, had expected higher allocation to the scheme keeping in view its aim to provide about 1.2 crore houses to urban poor by 2022, sources said. In urban areas, the assistance has been sanctioned to construct 37 lakh houses, Jaitley said. “We have fixed a target that every poor of this country may have his own house by 2022. For this purpose Prime Minister Awas Yojana has been launched in rural and urban areas of the country,” he said.
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Under Prime Minister Awas Scheme (Rural), 51 lakh houses in year 2017-18 and 51 lakh houses during 2018-19, which is more than one crore houses will be constructed exclusively in rural areas, Jaitley said. Allocation to the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) scheme was reduced by 11.17 per cent at Rs 310 crore over Rs 349 crore in 2017-18. Under the scheme, skill training is provided to urban poor with an aim to reduce poverty. Shelter to homeless people is also important component of the scheme.