The incentive scheme for acquiring buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) announced in the second stimulus package has so far come a cropper with only four states placing orders for vehicles. Further, commercial vehicle manufacturers like Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland who received bulk of the orders, have not received any money from these states, negating the very purpose of the scheme.
"The progress of tendering under the scheme has been slow largely because state governments have been lethargic," said Surajit Mitra, additional secretary, Department of Heavy Industries. "Though the general elections are underway, the Election Commission had given the go ahead for the scheme, but so far orders for less than half of the quantum of buses earmarked under the scheme have been received.”
Under the stimulus package that was announced on January 2, the government had decided to provide a one-time assistance to states for purchase of buses for their urban transport systems. Funds to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore have been allocated for buying 14,240 buses but orders for only 4,800 buses have been placed so far.
While states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala have been quick to identify their requirement and place orders, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu lead the list of laggard states. See table
With the deadline for the scheme fixed for June 30, Mitra said the need for extending it may arise. "I am hopeful states will have to get their acts together otherwise we will see what to do. There has been no delay in releasing funds for states from the central ministry.”
The scheme was devised largely to help the ailing commercial vehicle industry, which witnessed a 22 per cent fall in sales in 2008-09. A similar scheme for rural transportation is being devised by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, which would entail replacement of almost 38,000 buses.