The Centre has fast-tracked its scheme to revamp urban infrastructure, making NDA-ruled states the biggest beneficiaries.
The Centre dropped the practice of annual approvals and asked 14 states to go ahead with their plans for the next three years under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Among the 14 states — Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, Goa, Tripura, Mizoram, Chandigarh and Meghalaya — the NDA is in power in eight.
All big states ruled by the NDA, except Maharashtra, have got the green signal.
Justifying the move, urban development secretary Rajiv Gauba said it will help the states plan in a comprehensive and holistic manner and allow timely execution of urban infrastructure projects related to water supply, sewerage networks, drainage, urban transport and green and open spaces.
The approved investment for the next three years is Rs 11,121 crore. Madhya Pradesh bagged the maximum investment at Rs 2,494 crore.
The Centre has also linked financial assistance with reforms in municipal administration such as e-governance, improving efficiency of water and power use, increasing efficiency of revenue collection, single window clearance for construction permits and credit rating of municipal bodies among others.
The UPA government’s urban renewal mission — JNNURM — also put in certain reforms as pre-conditions, but in many cases, political pressure overshadowed the reforms.
This time, the government is emphasising on municipalities to get credit rating by trustworthy agencies.