Centre to set up focus groups to expedite smart cities project

Centre to set up focus groups to expedite smart cities project

The Centre has decided to set up five to six focus groups to  expedite the  smart cities project, which has shown poor progress two years on.

These expert groups will provide guidance on mobilising funds, addressing the areas related to facilitating differently abled, women's security and connecting with young professionals in developing urban amenities.  

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs had launched the Smart Cities Mission in June 2015 to develop 100 cities with world class facilities. However, the scheme has been lagging due to various reasons, including urban local bodies' inability to raise funds and opposition from residents to levy of user charges to mop up funds for development works.

According to data presented by the Ministry in Parliament, in the last two-and-a-half years, only 5.2% of the total identified projects have been completed. Around 72% of the projects are still in the stage of preparation of detailed project report.

Slow progress

According to the scheme guidelines, the Ministry provides financial support of Rs 500 crore for each of the 100 smart cities and a matching contribution has to come from the state government. Since the launch of the scheme, the Centre has released Rs 9,718.20 crore.

As on January 17, 2,948 projects worth Rs 1.38 lakh crore were in various stages of implementation, while 189 projects worth Rs 2,237 crore had been completed, a Ministry official said.

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