MoUD seeks additional funding for smart cities mission

NEW DELHI: In the second year of the Smart Cities Mission, the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) is seeking a Rs 6,400 crore push to one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet initiatives. With 60 cities in different stages of implementing the programme, the ministry is looking to increase its outlay by nearly 80%.

The urban development ministry has written to the finance ministry that the outlay of Rs 3,600 crore for the current fiscal is insufficient and needs to be increased to Rs 10,000 crore at the revised estimates stage, terming the enhanced outlay “critical” funding over the next four months. To underline the urgency, the ministry has also written to the Prime Minister’s Office to weigh in, officials said.

Of the 100 cities under the mission, 20 were selected last year through the ‘India Smart Cities Challenge’. In the second year, these 20 cities need to be given Rs 100 crore each by the Centre. This translates into a commitment of Rs 2,000 crore. This year, a second fast track round was conducted to choose 13 cities, which need to be given Rs 200 crore each, or Rs 2,600 crore in all. The last round, concluded in September, threw up another 27 cities, which again need Rs 200 crore each, or support amounting to Rs 5,400 crore.

“The total outlay should be Rs 10,000 crore but the mission has been earmarked only Rs 3,600 crore. The shortfall of Rs 6,400 crore needs to be made good. This is why we have sought additional funds,” a senior ministry official told media. The official further said, “It is critical to the progress of the mission. We have reached the halfway mark and now cities will be implementing projects. Funds are critical here.”

Since the PMO is closely monitoring the flagship programme, the ministry has impressed upon it that the funds are necessary for its timely implementation, the official said.

Credits ET Realty

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