by - Tasneem F.Khan (Media & Communication Officer)
“The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, to my mind, is an immense opportunity for our country to create livable, just and inclusive habitats through responsive and transparent local government system”, said the Prime Minister at the National Conference on JNNURM.
A momentum that rebuilds our cities and reforms the way the Urban Local Bodies are governed, a commitment to the development and expansion of physical infrastructure, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), a first of its kind programme was launched on 3rd December, 2005. 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 are to contribute Rs.50,000/- crore. The Mission is to be implemented within a time frame of 7 years (2005-06 to 2011-12).
The objective of the Mission is to ensure integrated development of Urban Infrastructure and Services, secure effective linkage between asset creation and management. It is also to ensure adequate investment of funds to address deficiencies in the urban infrastructure. It lays particular emphasis on providing basic services to urban poor. Thus it aims to encourage reforms and fast track planned development of identified cities with focus on efficiency in urban infrastructure and service delivery mechanisms, community participation and accountability of Urban Local Bodies/Parastatal agencies towards citizens.
Urban Infrastructure and Governance
In the third year since its launch, JNNURM is now on a fast track. Under one of its submission, Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG), which focuses on 63 Mission Cities, a total of about 324 Projects have been sanctioned covering 54 cities in 26 states and Union Territories in the country. The cost of all sanctioned projects is estimated at Rs. 30,135.23 crore. The total Additional Central Assistance (ACA) is Rs. 14,612.46 crore for the sanctioned projects. A total amount of Rs. 2529.84 crore under UIG has been utilized in 2007-08 which is the highest utilized in a financial year since the inception of the project.
The Finance Minister Shri P. Chidambaram has lauded JNNURM as one of the flagship programme and proposed to increase the allocation for the Mission from Rs. 5482 crore in 2007-08 to Rs. 6866 crore for 2008-09.While presenting the Budget for 2007-08, he said “JNNURM is the main vehicle for improving urban infrastructure. It has also succeeded in driving reforms in urban governance and urban related laws”.
Reforms are one of the main components under JNNURM. Some important reforms envisaged under the Mission are:
Mandatory reforms at State Level
* Enactment of the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992, which envisages that the third tier of the Government i.e. Urban Local Body is given major share in urban governance.
* The Mission envisages a reform in the area of Rent Control legislation. This will encourage construction and development of more housing stock, promoting efficient and robust rental/tenancy market. Thereby improving availability of housing across all income categories.
* Rationalization of Stamp duties by States/Cities has been envisaged to establish an efficient real estate market with transparency in transfer of property.
* JNNURM requires that States undertake to repeal “Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act” with the objective of increasing the supply of land in the market.
* With the objective of institutionalizing citizen participation as well as introducing of Area Sabha in Urban areas community participation law has been drafted.
* Enactment of Public Disclosure Law (PDL) requires reforms to be undertaken by States/Cities in areas of disclosure of information to Public making Municipalities/Parastatals published various information pertaining to its functioning at periodic intervals for sharing with citizens.
Mandatory reforms at ULB level
*Implementation of e-governance with the objective of deployment of information technology tools and applications has been envisaged to bring in a transparent administration, quick service delivery, effective MIS and general improvement in service delivery to the citizens.
* Reforms have been envisaged in the methods of levy, administration and collection of property taxes with the objective of establishing simple, transparent, non-discretionary and equitable property tax regime encouraging voluntary compliance.
* JNNURM requires States/Cities to levy user charges on different municipal services leading to self sustaining deliveries for these services ultimately for securing effective linkages between asset creation and asset management.
* The Mission requires ULBs to earmark funds in their budget specifically for services delivery to the urban poor.
* Provision of basic services to urban poor such as water supply and sanitation, including provision of security of tenure and improved housing at affordable pricing are also envisaged under JNNURM. Mission also requires delivery assurance for universal services in the areas of health, education and security.
Apart from mandatory reforms, there are some reforms to be undertaken by States/Cities such as property titling, improving building by-laws, earmarking land for housing to poor, computerized registration of land and property, administrative and structural reforms, and reforms to encourage public-private partnership.
Initiatives to Monitor Implementation of Projects
The Mission Directorate has taken several initiatives to monitor implementation of projects. Independent Review and Monitoring Agencies (IRMA) is to be appointed by the States for monitoring of the progress of implementation of the projects sanctioned under the Mission. The agency will offer comments on procurement policies followed, review pre-construction activities, report on the progress activities (physical and financial) and their timely completion with acceptable quality of construction etc. Programme monitoring and Evaluation System (PMES) is a comprehensive web-enabled management information system which will serve cover all the critical aspects of programme implementation.
Citizen participation, an interesting feature of the Mission seeks various initiatives at city, state and Central level wherein a favourable environment is created for citizens from various walks of life by encouraging them to participate in the development of their cities. Technical Advisory Groups (TAG) comprising members of civil society have been constituted to ensure transparency and accountability in the Mission. A Community Participation Fund (CPF) has been established by the Mission Directorate with the initial corpus of Rs. 100 crore with the provision of Rs. 90 crore for funding the projects during the remaining years of Mission. The balance of Rs. 10.00 crore will be utilized for management, monitoring, organizing outreach workshop and coordination etc. The primary objective of the fund is to create capacities in the communities to effectively engage and contribute in improving their living environment.
Thus the JNNURM is different from earlier programmes as it encourages inclusive development focuses on development together with the necessary reforms and represents the collective and well intentioned efforts of stake holders in the urban sector.
The Hindu - Opinion
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