Developing smart cities, other govt flagship schemes to feel the pinch in Budget 2017 | union-budget | Hindustan Times
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Developing smart cities, other govt flagship schemes to feel the pinch in Budget 2017

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet Swachh Bharat Mission and his government’s other flagship urban development programmes are likely to feel the pinch in the next fiscal.

union budget Updated: Jan 30, 2017 01:03 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
According to government sources only Rs 4,000 crore is likely to be earmarked for the smart-city project as against its requirement of around Rs 14,000 crore.
According to government sources only Rs 4,000 crore is likely to be earmarked for the smart-city project as against its requirement of around Rs 14,000 crore. (Shutterstock)

The NDA government’s urban modernisation programmes such as the signature scheme to develop 100 smart cities could feel the pinch in the next fiscal.

Government sources said the allocation for the urban development ministry in the Union Budget for 2017-18 is likely to be little over Rs 30,000 crore.

This is almost half of what the ministry had sought to fund its various projects such as developing 100 smart cities, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) being undertaken in 500 cities, the much-talked about Swachh Bharat Mission among others.

The allocation, however, will be marginally higher than what it was allocated in the last fiscal. In 2016-17, the ministry got Rs 28, 819 crore in the revised estimate.

The shoe string allocation, according to many ministry officials, might impede successful implementation of these projects.

According to government sources only Rs 4,000 crore is likely to be earmarked for the smart-city project as against its requirement of around Rs 14,000 crore.

With the ministry planning to enlist 40 cities for the smart city programme in 2017-18 fiscal in addition to the 60 cities already selected, the probable allocation for the project might prove to be too little, the sources said.

The Centre has committed to provide Rs 200 crore per city in the first year followed by Rs 100 crore each for next three years, sources pointed out.

Other projects too are also expected to be hit by the fund crunch.

“It won’t be easy to mobilise resources for such programmes when the economy has slowed down. Private investment has not happened as anticipated,” said a government official, seeking anonymity.

“This will be the testing time for all the schemes that we have launched in the last two years. Success of these flagship programmes will depend on how states implement the work on the ground. Any fund crunch can have an adverse impact,” the official added.

Allocation for the Swachh Bharat Mission is unlikely to be increased from Rs 2,300 crore allocated in the last budget.

Besides, the ministry is likely to get Rs 18,000 crore for expanding metro rail network. Officials said the “meager allocation” will affect the expansion work in cities such as Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai.