Union Budget 2018: 54% hike for smart city mission, AMRUT loses | Hindustan Times
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Union Budget 2018: 54% hike for smart city mission, AMRUT loses

The program to develop 100 smart cities – 99 have been selected till now – has been allocated Rs 6169 crore in 2018-19 .

india Updated: Feb 01, 2018 23:56 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Cityscape of New Town and Rajarhat, the upcoming smart city project in Kolkata.
Cityscape of New Town and Rajarhat, the upcoming smart city project in Kolkata. (File)

The Smart cities programme received a 54% jump in the budget for 2018-19 over the previous year, and emerged the government’s flagship scheme in the area of urban renewal.

The programme to develop 100 smart cities – 99 have been selected till now – has been allocated ~6169 crore in 2018-19 .

“Urbanisation is our opportunity and priority….I am happy to inform that 99 cities have been selected with an outlay of ~2.04 lakh crore. These cities have started implementing various projects like smart command and control centre, smart roads, solar rooftops, intelligent transport systems, smart parks,” finance minister Arun Jaitley said in his budget speech.

Jaitley said that the urban modernisation programme has catalysed reforms in cities across the country. “482 cities have started credit rating. 144 cities have got investment grade rating,” the finance minister said.

However, the government’s other urban development scheme — Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation – which aims to develop 500 cities will feel the pinch with its allocation cut to Rs6000 crore in 2018-19 from Rs9000 crore in 2017-18.

The overall allocation for the Union Housing and Urban Affairs ministry saw a marginal increase of 2.8 % – from Rs40,617 crore in 2017-18 to Rs41,765 crore in 2018-19. “In 2017-18, the urban development ministry was allocated Rs34,211 crore while the housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry was given Rs6,406 crore. In July 2017 the two ministries were merged,” said a senior ministry official who did not want to be named.

Two other programmes for urban areas – Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) – also saw a marginal increase in allocation of funds. While Rs2500 crore has been allocated for SBM for building toilets, up from Rs2300 crore last year, PMAY received Rs6,505 crore, up from Rs6,042 crore in 2017-18.

Given the thrust on the affordable housing program the government has allowed the housing ministry to raise Rs25,000 crore from extra budgetary resources.

“Besides raising money from the market, we will also raise resources through loans from National Small Savings Fund, which comprises funds collected from small savings such as PPF, Kisan Vikas Patra, National Small Savings Scheme,” added the official.