Stressing on the need for inclusive and sustainable urban development to ensure access for the poor and the vulnerable to urban spaces, M Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, today said that new guidelines will soon be issued to enable private investments in affordable housing even on private lands under affordable housing in partnership component of PMAY(Urban) under which only public sector partnership is allowed so far. He said construction of 20,25,573 affordable houses for urban poor has been approved in a short time as against only 12,40,904 sanctioned under JNNURM.
More than threefold increase in investments, per capita spending, Central assistance and substantially enhanced capacities of city governments under the new urban missions launched during the last three years are driving the much-needed urban transformation in the country, he said.
Briefing media on the urban sector initiatives of the government today, Naidu said that a rule-based framework has been introduced to ensure objective selection of cities and allocation of central funds without any discretion and discrimination and the same has been followed in getting unauthorized occupants of government houses evicted. A major course correction has been launched during the last three years to improve urban infrastructure and quality of life in cities in an environment of inclusive, sustainable and accelerated urban development.
Giving an account of the positive outcomes of the initiatives of the government that are driving urban transformation, Naidu said:
# Per capita Investment of Rs 15,475 has so far been approved during 2014-17 under new urban missions for a five-year period which is 315% of Rs 4,918 approved for the earlier ten years. A total investment of Rs 4,13,475 crore has so far been approved for improving basic urban infrastructure. which is 350% of Rs 1,18,034 approved under JNNURM;
# A total of 6,737 projects have so far been approved, which is 215% of 3,138 projects cleared under JNNURM, reflecting substantially enhanced capacities of city governments for project formulation and implementation through deployment of professional staff and through intensive handholding;
# 748 cities have formulated the much desired Master Plans, 172 cities have reported over 90% Property Tax Collection during the last three years;
# In an indication of the new language of governance and resource mobilization, 322 AMRUT and smart cities have acquired Credit Ratings of which 147 have got investment grade while 163 cities in 18 States and UTs have initiated measures for mobilizing resources through Value Capture Financing tools;
# For the first time in the country, 500 AMRUT cities and 60 smart cities identified so far are pursuing five year comprehensive action plans for infrastructure development as against ad hoc approval of projects in the past.
Naidu said that with cities now moving forward on the path of well thought out course of infrastructure development, ‘City Liveability Index’ will be launched on the 23 of this month at the National Workshop on Urban Transformation in New Delhi. The next batch of smart cities also will be announced that day.
The Minister said that the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change yesterday issued a notification doing away with the need for a separate Environmental Clearence from that Ministry for construction and building projects up to 1,50,000 sq.metres in Delhi. Such approvals will henceforth be issued by DDA, NDMC and the three MCDs in their jurisdiction.
Naidu said public transport is being promoted in a big way to address the issues of climate change and pollution and the Metro network in the country is set to double over the next two years from the present 346 kms with 353 kms of metro lines becoming operational.