Urban Development Schemes Moving At Slow Pace: Govt Official
Urban development schemes like Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT Mission and Swachh Bharat Mission are moving at a slow pace in various cities of India that are facing large infrastructure deficit and poor quality of urban services, said Joint Secretary (Infrastructure, Policy and Finance), Ministry of Finance, Government of India, while speaking at an event in Ahmedabad.
The official pointed out that 10-12 million people are being added every year to the urban population of India and it is expected that by the year 2030, 40 percent of India’s population or 600 million people will be living in urban areas that contribute 75 percent to the national GDP.
Talking about the various urban development schemes launched by the government, he said, the central government has launched the Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT Mission for rejuvenation of urban transformation and the Swachh Bharat Mission as part of the holistic strategy of urban development.
However, work in these missions is moving at a slow pace. It has been reported that only about two percent of the Rs 9943 crore released for the Smart Cities Mission have been utilised so far. Similarly, 24 water supply projects worth only about Rs 9 crore have been completed so far under AMRUT, while 494 contracts worth Rs 19000 crore awarded.
However, an official from the Gujarat government who participated in the inaugural session pointed out that the property tax recovery in eight municipal corporations was over 90 percent, while it was at an unimpressive 50 percent in 162 municipalities of the state. “The larger corporations — we have eight of those; Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Jamnagar and Gandhinagar — are well administered.
They have their internal resources also. To cite one figure, the property tax collection in the corporations last financial year is more than 90 percent. So recovery is not difficult. They have 162 municipalities with a population as high as one lakh. The average property tax collection is just above 50 percent, said Principal Secretary, Urban development and urban housing department, Government of Gujarat.
The smaller corporations are finding it very difficult to absorb the funds which are coming from the Government of India, finance commission and various other sources. Many of these funds are coming directly.
He said in order to correct this the state government has recently appointed regional municipal commissioners who will on an average overseeing and monitoring 30 municipalities. The institution has just been set up. Six officers have just been posted. These officers have been appointed at Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Gandhinagar, Rajkot and Bhavnagar.
Talking about the internal resources by urban local bodies in the state, the Gujarat government official also pointed out that the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) has a corpus of more than Rs 1000 crore and it is spending more than Rs 250 crore on building six bridges and under bridges on the ring road.
Source Link- http://indianexpress.com/.