PM’s pet projects Smart Cities and Swachh Bharat may face fund crunch

  • Moushumi Das Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 25, 2016 13:20 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers a speech at the launch of Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) in New Delhi. (AFP File Photo)

The Narendra Modi government’s pet projects, Smart Cities and Swachh Bharat Mission in urban areas, could face funding cuts in the 2016-17 fiscal.

The urban development (UD) ministry has sought Rs 10,000 crore for its plan to enlist 40 cities in 2016-17 for the Smart City programme besides providing funds for the 20 cities selected last year. But sources said the ministry is likely to get around Rs 3,150 crore.

“The programme has taken off now and selected cities are getting ready to roll off projects. A cut in allocation at this stage will affect implementation,” a senior government official said.

Under the smart cities mission, the Centre will provide Rs 200 crore per city in the first year, followed by Rs 100 crore each for the next three years. “While Rs 2,000 crore would be due in 2016-17 for the 20 selected cities, Rs 8,000 crore would be due for the 40 cities to be selected in the new fiscal. This comes to Rs 10,000 crore,” added another government official.

The Swachh Bharat programme in urban areas could face funds crunch as well because the finance ministry may give Rs 2,000 crore — Rs 3,000 crore less than that sought by the UD ministry overseeing the cleanliness drive. The overall budget of the UD ministry — which oversees the implementation of Smart Cities and Swachh Bharat in urban areas and other urban infrastructure modernisation programmes — may increase to Rs 18,000 crore, or a 6.9% jump up from Rs 16,832 crore in the previous fiscal.

Officials said this is not enough to meet requirements of the slew of big-ticket urban modernisation programmes rolled out by the ministry.

Metro expansion will also face a fund crunch. “It will affect the expansion of the metro network in cities such as Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai. Of the Rs 33,000 crore the ministry has sought, it is likely to get about Rs 4,000 crore,” said a finance ministry source.

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