Expressing serious concern over the acute deficit in urban infrastructure in the country, Minister of Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M Venkaiah Naidu today asserted that the Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has mainstreamed the urban agenda, ending decades long neglect.
He spoke of a range of challenges in the urban sector and the concerted efforts launched to address the same while addressing the ‘Regional Editors Conference’ in Chennai.
Venkaiah Naidu stated that the Modi led Government inherited not only a derailed economy but also a crumbling urban landscape adversely impacting the quality of life and economic activities. “Prime Minister Shri Modi asked us to convert these challenges into opportunities and a comprehensive action plan has been launched to recast the urban landscape with the involvement of citizens, urban local bodies and the States, through a paradigm shift in the approach” said Naidu.
Comparing the initiatives taken during 2004-14 and the last two years, Shri Naidu noted that “in a very short period, we have either exceeded or close to what was done under 10 years of JNNURM in respect of all comparable and measurable parameters”.
Naidu explained that the scale and pace of project approvals and resource flows have been enhanced through a paradigm shift in the approaches that include extensive one year long stakeholder consultations including with citizens, urban local bodies and State Governments, objective selection of cities and towns under different new urban missions, introduction of innovative competition based selection of cities under Smart City Mission and incentivizing implementation of reforms for better urban governance.
These measures have resulted in a new consciousness and a spirit of healthy competition among urban local bodies and States, he said.
The Minister stated that southern States are in the forefront of implementation of housing projects for urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).
Elaborating further, he said that though southern States account for 27% of urban population of the country, they have got 3.80 lakh houses sanctioned accounting for 42% of the 8.99 lakh houses sanctioned.