The UPA government plans a smooth ride for urban India and has a roadmap ready..
Days after human resources development minister Kapil Sibal promised a massive course correction in education sector, his colleague S. Jaipal Reddy, the Urban Development Minister, on Monday came out with his 100-day agenda for urban India.
Affordable and efficient public transport will be the driving force.
The ministry also plans to take its flagship infrastructure urban scheme, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), to 28 more cities.
Fund state-of-the-art buses for 118 cities with a population of more than 2 lakh, scrap excise duties on buses for public transport and take Metro to more cities is Reddy’s plan. Bus Rapid Transit System for 10 more cities is also on the list.
The finance ministry, however, will take a call on some of the plans.
Under JNNURM, the Centre is funding 15,260 buses for 61 buses. The estimated cost is Rs 4,000 crore, shared equally between the Centre and states.
Funding for all the 2 lakh-plus cities will more than double the amount.
The plans is to have more and better buses: low-floored, equipped with vehicle-tracking, electronic ticketing and online passenger information systems.
“The Ministry of IT has allotted a public transport helpline short code — 155220 — to us,” Reddy said.
An efficient public transport will not only reduce use of private transport, it’ll also ensure smooth flow of traffic.
The other priority area is infrastructure. The Centre plans to extend JNNURM — launched in 2005 for 65 cities — to 28 more cities, which have a population of more than 5 lakh.
The scheme so far covers cities with a population of 10-lakh plus, state capitals and some tourist and pilgrim centres.