• PPP needed as funding for Smart City, AMRUT inadequate: Venkaiah Naidu

    The government has decided to bring in the PPP model for the implementation of the Smart City and AMRUT schemes as funds allocated for these are inadequate, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said today.
    “Presently, the funds we are providing under the Smart City and AMRUT schemes are not adequate. I know it. The figures (of allocation) are very big but they are not adequate from the point of implementation,” he said.
    “The investment potential in the urban sector in the next 5-6 years is Rs 18 lakh crore, including Rs 1 lakh crore under AMRUT, Rs 2.50 lakh crore under Smart City Mission and Rs 66,000 crore under Swachh Bharat Mission.
    “These figures are good-looking but not adequate; I know it. That’s why we have decided to bring in the PPP model,” the Urban Development Minister said at a meeting of the All India Council of Mayors here.
    Naidu told mayors from across the country that the Centre would provide Rs 87,147 crore directly to urban local bodies between 2016 and 2020.
    As regards concerns and complaints of mayors that the 74th Amendment Act pertaining to urban local bodies has not been fully implemented by many states, Naidu said it was a “serious matter” and he was looking into it.
    “There needs to be a consensus over implementation of the 74th Amendment Act. States are always asking for more powers; but at the same time they have to devolve more powers to local bodies and that is not happening,” he said.
    The government will incentivise the states that implement the Act, he said while noting that “public pressure” could push the unwilling to fall in line.
    Naidu said he was in favour of a separate municipal cadre for urban civic bodies, maintaining that even the Prime Minister had seen the proposal and UPSC had been directed to study it.
    Earlier, after the meet began with the singing of ‘Vande Mataram’, chants of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ were raised by some of the mayors affiliated to BJP.
    Naidu later told reporters that the chanting of Bharat Mata Ki Jai was not a matter of “dispute”. He accused opposition parties of “maligning” the government and engaging in politics over the chant and said it had also been uttered by the likes of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru.
    Referring to comments by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over a Pakistani team’s visit to probe the Pathankot attack, Naidu said the AAP leader should seek “pardon” from the country for levelling allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Alexander Mogilny Authentic Jersey

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