Union urban development and housing and urban poverty alleviation minister M Venkaiah Naidu and top bureaucrats of his ministry will be in Lucknow on Friday to review the implementation of all central sector urban schemes in Uttar Pradesh.
The Narendra Modi government seems to be leaving no stone unturned to ensure that it delivers on its promise to ramp up development in UP after the massive mandate they got in the state in the recent assembly elections and the 2014 parliamentary polls.
This is the first such review of urban sector programmes since the formation of the new government in the state. UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, concerned state ministers and officials will attend the review meeting.
Uttar Pradesh has lagged behind in the implementation of almost all the urban sector programs of the Centre such as housing for all, smart cities mission, etc.
“There is concern that if there is no tangible development on the ground, the goodwill will go … That is why the Centre has turned its focus on UP,” said a senior government official.
So far, under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) only a few proposals have been received from the earlier state government. The Centre has approved construction of 20,682 affordable houses with an investment of Rs 1,058 crore. The central assistance approved for these projects is Rs 466 crore.
UP has also fared poorly on sanitation and is amongst the dirtiest states in the country. The Swachh Survekshan report released on Thursday found 50 of the 62 cities surveyed in UP ranked below 300 on various sanitation parameters like garbage collection and solid waste management. Gonda is the dirtiest among the 434 cities surveyed across India.
The UP assembly elections carry wider national ramifications as the emphatic victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) added to its image of invincibility and may leave a divided opposition further demoralised in the run-up to the national elections in 2019.
The state is politically important as it accounts for the biggest number of constituencies or seats in India, both at the Lok Sabha level - 80 out of 543 elected MPs - and at the state assembly level - 404. It also sends 31 members to the Rajya Sabha, the highest for any state.
“There is very little time left to deliver before the 2019 parliamentary elections. The government has realised that unless it translates its promises to work on the ground, it might not earn it political dividend,” said another senior government officer.