Ex-bureaucrat Puri talks of NDA’s big urban expenditure after taking charge
Hardeep Singh Puri, a former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer who served as the country’ permanent representative to the United Nations in 2014, on Friday took charge as minister of state with independent charge of the ministries of housing and urban affairs, civil aviation and commerce.
“In the last 10 years of the UPA [United Progressive Alliance] government from 2004 to 2014, the expenditure of urban schemes was ₹1,57,703 crore. Under our government, for key PM Modi ji-led schemes; Swachh Bharat Mission, National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and PMAY which began in 2015 to 2019, the expenditure on these urban schemes stood at ₹9,07,286 crore which is six times the expenditure in just four years, this is what the PM through his flagship programmes has been able to do in the urban sector,” Puri said.
Puri, who was the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate for Punjab’s Amritsar, was defeated by his Congress rival Gurjit Aujla by over 100,000 votes.
Puri will be the second IFS officer to be part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s cabinet after former foreign secretary S Jaishankar who took charge as union minister of external affairs. Former IFS officers such as Natwar Singh, Mani Shankar Aiyer and Brajesh Mishra were among diplomats who went on to have important political careers.
In November, Puri along with Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, had crossed over to Pakistan to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony of Kartarpur corridor linking Pakistan’s Gurudwara Darbar Sahib with India’s Dera Baba Nanak shrine.
Puri oversaw key NDA government’s politically important schemes, including Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), Swachh Bharat Abhyan and the Smart Cities mission.
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