PM urges states to work with Centre for early implementation of JNNURM

November 14th, 2007 - 1:55 am ICT by admin  
Inaugurating the National Conference on JNNURM here, Singh said he has been continuously reviewing the progress of this Mission with his Cabinet colleagues, and has found differential performance in its implementation.

“We find differential performance in its implementation across States, with some doing well and others lagging behind. Cities that lag behind will find it increasingly difficult to catch up. Time is of the essence and I therefore urge States to work closely with the two Central Ministries to monitor and enforce early implementation,” he said.

He also asked the state and local authorities to advance the timelines for implementation of these reforms so that the Mission’s objectives were met within the specified time period.

This would enable these bodies to become more viable and eligible to enlist institutional finance, he said, adding that the government was considering the idea of offering further incentives to states and cities that implement reforms on a faster track.

Noting that a rapid urbanization has spawned its own set of problems, Singh said urban housing stock, especially housing for the poor, has not kept pace with the expanding demand. He said as much as 30 percent of urban households live in single room units, which creates social and health problems, and affects the education of children.

“We, therefore, need to facilitate and respond to this transformation through effective measures for improvement of city services, proactive creation of urban infrastructure and improved systems of public governance to match the requirements of the situation,” he said, adding that 63 cities have already developed their “City Development Plans” and were in the process of preparing Detailed Project Reports to access funds.

He further said that the authorities should ensure that those localities that today have minimal services gain the maximum from the new investments proposed.

Underlining that internal earmarking in city budgets for basic services to the urban poor has been made an important reform conditionality, Singh appealed to the local bodies and the state governments to give this area priority attention to ensure that inclusive cities are developed where every citizen has an entitlement to basic services.

Singh called for encouraging the private sector to invest in urban development through public-private partnerships (PPP), saying that urban infrastructure and services and low-cost housing offer huge potential for such partnerships.

“State Governments and cities must provide the enabling environment for the private sector to participate and for public private partnership to take roots in our country,” he said.

Apart from addressing the needs of large Mission cities, he said, the government must also focus on improving basic services in other non-Mission cities and towns.

He admitted that given the level of interest exhibited by small and medium towns, the government recognized that the financial allocations made for them were inadequate. (ANI)

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