NEW DELHI: The government has given a fresh push to Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) – its mega bucks urban renewal plan for 500 cities. Taking a leaf from Modi mantra of minimum government maximum governance, urban development ministry has decided to clear urban renewal projects worth Rs 25,000 crore for the next three years this month.
Launched in June 2015, AMRUT involves a revamp of 500 cities with emphasis on water supply, sewerage network and community parks. Every year, states send their State Annual Action Plans to the apex committee, headed by secretary (urban development). This committee has been clearing projects as the states send them for sanction. However, the ministry has now decided to completely change the approach and sanction projects in one go.
Ministry sources said this would help the states gauge the funds at their disposal and move from a project-based approach to an area-based approach. The states have been advised to send their plans for the next three fiscals 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 within this month. The apex committee would meet to consider plans state-wise and clear them. “This way the states save time as they don’t have to come for each project. Also they know the funds they would have for the next three fiscals and can plan area development and also how much they need to raise through public-private partnerships,” said a ministry official.
While the annual action plans would be sanctioned in one-go, the funds would be released only after utilization certificates are sent by states governments. Sources said the suggestion for sanctioning all plans came from the states. “The state governments pointed out that in the first quarter no states send proposals. By the time the proposals are cleared, the first two quarters and some times three quarters of the fiscal have passed. So states then waste a lot of time. This would help in long-term perspective and planning,” said the official.
The total central assistance under AMRUT is Rs 50,000 cr. Of this, Rs 25,000-cr projects have been sanctioned.
Develop a robust protocol
Its welcome that the government is keeping a close tab on the progress in implementation, beyond merely designing and announcing projects. The best of schemes and interventions would be nixed if they falter in implementation. These projects in the nascent stage, and hence this is the opportune time to review glitches in the roll out. The need is to develop a protocol for effective monitoring, review, and verification for all schemes, and put in place a stock taking system that will help improve outcomes.
Credits ET Realty