A "near absence" of any long term city level plan, inadequate capacity of municipalities, haphazard approach to taking up projects and failure to undertake crucial reforms led to the failure of one of UPA's flagship programme , to improve the urban infrastructure, a high-level government panel has said.
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was a reform linked urban renewal programme launched in 2005.
The Centre committed Rs 66,000 crore to states for upgrading urban infrastructure such as water supply and sanitation provided they carry out some mandatory reforms, which included decentralisation, rationalising stamp duty, etc. But with the programme ending in March, only one-fifth of the projects sanctioned under JNNURM-I have been completed.
Headed by Planning Commission member Arun Maira, the panel which submitted its report last month has recommended a series of measures including re-launching JNNURM-II for a longer duration — 10 years — to achieve the reforms that were initiated and also to bridge the huge deficit in urban infrastructure. JNNURM-I had a seven-year mission period and 71 cities were included in the programme.
The report lists the poor planning process as one of the "most debilitating lacunae" noticed in JNNURM-I preventing any holistic development of the city. "Absence of participatory planning has also resulted in programmes suffering from lack of ownership," the report states.
The panel has also blamed inadequate capacities of the municipalities for poor implementation of the programme.
Besides, it noted that a "one size fits all" approach to reform was adapted under JNNURM-I, which resulted in significant inter-state variation in completion of reforms and projects.