Manmohan Singh for urban reforms to check chaos

Manmohan Singh for urban reforms to check chaos


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presents the JNNURM Award for Excellence for Urban Transport Projects to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI

"As infrastructure struggles to keep pace with demand, urban chaos is becoming a way of life. Our cities and towns are not an acceptable face of rapidly modernising and developing economy," he said at the national conference of JNNURM, to mark the fourth anniversary of the flagship programme of the government.

He said the success of JNNURM was critical to tackling the problems that go with rapid urbanisation.

Singh said the Centre has committed substantial funds for urban renewal along with the states and urban local bodies.

He said the two ministries of Urban Development and Urban Poverty Alleviation have approved projects worth Rs 103,462 crore for which the Centre has committed an assistance of Rs 55,625 crore.

"It is good that the focus of projects approved under the Mission has been on basic services like water supply, sewerage, drainage, solid waste management, improvement of slums and construction of houses for the poor," he noted.

Stressing the government's commitment to urban sector, he said JNNURM has created a "paradigm shift" in how the urban sector is viewed, both at state and city levels.

"This government can take great pride in having launched a Mission that is a game changer for urban India," the Prime Minister said.

He said the balanced development of the urban sector is an integral part of the strategy for inclusive growth.

Pointing out that the process of municipal reform under the Mission needs to deepen and be more even across cities, Singh said the urban local bodies have to develop the capacity to provide efficient, equitable and transparent governance.

"They have to have the ability to conceive, design and implement large projects. They have to be sensitive to the needs and welfare of the urban poor," he said, adding that improving the financial health of the municipalities was a priority.

"The states should fulfill their obligations to devolve functions and finances to municipal bodies. State Finance Commissions have to be set up periodically and their recommendations implemented in both letter and spirit," he said.

Noting that only urban local bodies in good financial shape would be able to attract private investment or assistance from multilateral financial institutions, Singh said both of these are indispensable for financing the development of our cities.

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