Pranab Babu has given the residents of the National Capital Region quite a lot to cheer about. Though funding for the Delhi Metro for the next year is Rs 2,130 crore, it isn’t very less than the Rs 2,588 crore budgeted for the current fiscal. Originally, it was only Rs 1,088 crore.
This means the rapid pace at which the Metro is building infrastructure to connect Delhiites with a mass rapid transit system will continue.
Secondly, allocations for urban development schemes have been proposed at almost Rs 400 crore — an increase from the measly Rs 72 crore this fiscal.
This five-fold increase is substantial — it will empower and encourage the Ministry of Urban Development, the beneficiary and proponent of this demand, to quicken the pace of development and redevelopment.
For long the urban poor have been kept on the fringes of the city’s development. But the finance minister has announced an allocation of more than Rs 300 crore (up from nothing allocated this year) for the providing Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP).
Such a provision is clearly an indicator of the government’s concern for the urban poor who live at the bottom of the social structure.
Used sensitively, the BSUP funds can be a trendsetter for other cities which are plagued with the same malaises of neglect of this segment of urban dwellers, with slums and unauthorised colonies yearning for self respect and to be brought back into the fabric of the legal city.
But the icing on the cake is the allocation made through the demands of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Funds for urban infrastructure and governance under the JNNURM have increased almost five fold — from Rs 130 odd crore to nearly Rs 585 crore.
Such monies, if used intelligently, can fill up the infrastructure gaps that Delhi desperately needs to be
a part of the community of international capitals and cities.
This would also help upgrade parts of the city's infrastructure which require cleaning up and rejuvenation.
If such a mission were to be augmented with the Rs 585 crore provided for urban infrastructure and governance, and of course used judiciously, it could well become a reason to rejoice in the coming years.
Vohra is an architect and urban law expert.