As he assumed the office as Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri said the department faces "daunting" challenges vis-a-vis urban housing and development, but promised to give his best to achieve the targets.
As he assumed the office as Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri said the department faces “daunting” challenges vis-a-vis urban housing and development but promised to give his best to achieve the targets. The ministry is implementing some of the flagship programmes of the Modi government, including the Smart City Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Urban) and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). “The urban housing and development challenges are daunting and transformative and I intend to give my best to meet the targets under various new urban missions,” he told reporters here. Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), the government targets construction of about 1.2 crore houses by 2022. As on July 31, 2017, the ministry has sanctioned over 23.92 lakh houses for the urban poor. Out of them, only 1.57 lakh houses have been built. The management of solid waste, a main component of Swachh Bharat Mission, is yet to pick momentum. The Smart City Mission has taken off but there are concerns over pace of implementation of projects.
“The priorities for urban sector have already been outlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and I would like to work on them,” the former diplomat said when asked about his priorities. He noted the HUA ministry is a “hardcore development- oriented ministry” and various new urban missions launched over the last three years have been “doing well” on ground. “I have no doubt, we are on way to accomplishing the tasks in the given time line,” he said.
Responding to query about challenge of achieving targets under various missions, Puri said, “There are two sets of targets — some to be achieved by 2019 and some by 2022. If challenges are not met in two years, they can’t be met even in six years. Going by the progress on ground, they can be met.”
Puri also held a review meeting on the progress of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban). He will be attending the inauguration of 8.50-km stretch of the Lucknow Metro tomorrow. Puri was sworn-in as MoS yesterday. Puri, 65, is a 1974-batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service and has served as India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2009-2013.