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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission

Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), aims to convert cities into engines of economic growth, to encourage urban fast-track integrated development.

The JNNURM was launched with a lot of fanfare by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on 3rd December, 2005. A total of 343 projects were sanctioned. It envisages an investment of more than Rs 1,00,000 crore with committed Central Government share of Rs 50,000 crore.

The State Governments and the Urban Local Bodies will contribute Rs 50,000 crore. The Mission is to be implemented in a time-frame of seven years (2005-2011). The objective is to ensure integrated development of urban infrastructure and services, secure effective linkages between asset creation and management and to ensure adequate investment of funds to address deficiencies in the urban infrastructure. It lays particular emphasis on providing basic services to the urban poor.

JNNURM has two components: Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) for the bigger cities and Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for small and medium towns and aims to encourage reforms and to fast track planned development of identified cities with a focus on urban infrastructure. The progress of municipal reforms is an important component of the mission which enables a city to claim additional funds under this scheme. As per the 2001 population census, 285.35 million people reside in urban areas. It is about 28 per cent of the total population of the country.

The urban population has grown five times in the post-independence era. It has also given rise to an increase in the number of urban poor. As per the 2001 estimate, the slum population is estimated to be 61.8 million. Slum dwellers cause considerable pressure on the urban basic services and infrastructure. In order to cope with the massive problems that have emerged as a result of rapid urban growth, it has become imperative to draw up a coherent urbanization policy/strategy to implement projects in select cities on a mission mode.

In its third year since inception, the JNNURM is now progressing at an even pace. Under Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) which focuses on 63 mission cities , 324 projects have been sanctioned covering 54 cities in 26 states and union territories in the country. The cost of these projects is estimated to be Rs 30,135.23 crore. The JNNURM came in for appreciation from the then Finance Minister Shri P Chidambaram, who proposed to increase the allocation of the mission from Rs 5,482 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 6,866 crore for 2008-09. The mission is seen as the main vehicle for improving urban infrastructure and has also succeeded in bringing about reforms in urban governance and urban related laws.

City Development Plan
The mission will also encourage cities to bring out a comprehensive City Development Plan (CDP) as against the traditional land-use plan. A development plan is an essential document to be prepared by cities to avail of central funds under the JNNURM. This plan will map the socio-economic infrastructure of the city, such as availability of basic healthcare and education—whether municipal schools and health clinics are located in the vicinity of informal or formal urban poor settlements.

This will facilitate the identification of areas not covered by health and education initiatives of municipalities. The CDP will also help integrate socio-economic development with infrastructure development by demarcating spaces for industry and services in the city, providing required infrastructure and streamlining licensing process through single window clearances. Despite the success stories surrounding the JNNURM, it is facing a shortage of funds.

Earlier, in its report submitted to the Planning Commission, the task force had cited reasons for additional government allocation and said that raising funds through external assistance programmes like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, was “a limited option.” The report also underlined the need to include the bankruptcy clause in municipal laws so that appropriate mechanisms can be put in place if local bodies are unable to meet their debt service obligations.

Mission Aims
The Mission envisages a change in the Rent Control legislation. This will encourage construction and development of more housing stock, promoting efficient and healthy rental/tenancy market. This will improve the housing situation, making comfortable houses available. The mission also envisages rationalization of stamp duties in states and cities and transparency in transfer of property. The Mission plans to bring about changes in the methods of levy, administration and collection of property taxes with the aim to establish a transparent, non-discretionary and equitable property tax regime. It also aims to provide basic services like water supply and sanitation to the urban poor.

Additional Funds
The Urban Development Ministry has sought additional funds to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore from the Government for the completion of infrastructure projects in 63 mission cities under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, during the Eleventh Plan. The task force report recently submitted to the Planning Commission has underlined that the Central grant funding of Rs 20,000 crore is necessary for funding urban infrastructure projects. An additional Rs 10,000 crore has been sought for the provision of incentive for better performing states and cities.


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