New Delhi: The government plans to increase the supply of trained officials to execute development schemes under the second phase of its flagship city-modernization programme, after a lack of trained manpower posed hurdles for municipal bodies to plan and manage projects such as urban housing and transportation.
The so-called “capacity-building mission” in the second phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, or JNNURM, is expected to help improve the ability of urban local bodies to cope with increasing urbanization, as more Indians leave villages and settle in cities in search of a livelihood.
The second phase of the urban development ministry’s JNNURM programme is set to receive Rs.1.01 trillion in the 12th Plan period (2012-2017).
“The heart of the next phase of JNNURM is going to be a deliberate, focused strategy for building the state and local bodies’ capacity to plan and manage projects for urban development,” said Arun Maira, urban affairs member in the Planning Commission.
The Plan panel has set up a steering group headed by Maira to design the proposed capacity building mission. The top bureaucrats of the ministries of urban development and housing and urban poverty alleviation, along with M. Ramachandran, a former secretary of the urban development ministry, are among the 11 members of the group.
Sanjukta Bhaduri, a professor of the department of urban planning at the New Delhi-based School of Planning and Architecture, said projects had been undertaken earlier as well, but sometimes officials didn’t know how to formulate or implement them. “Getting more people and training them will improve the quality and implementability of projects,” she said.
Under the city-modernization programme, states and urban local bodies are required to prepare development plans, lay down a vision for their cities and identify and implement projects according to that. This requires the urban local bodies to develop capacity for, among other things, preparing transport plans, designing detailed project reports and improving accounting systems.
In the first phase of the programme between 2005 and 2012, states and urban local bodies have proposed and implemented projects to improve urban transport, water supply and waste management.
However, the capacity of the state and local bodies, such as municipalities, to plan and implement these projects remained poor, according to both the urban development ministry and the Planning Commission.
The 12th Plan working group on capacity building said in its report that while 5% of the total outlay of JNNURM was earmarked for capacity building, only Rs.1,619 crore of a sum of Rs.5,000 crore was actually allocated. Further, only 10% of the allocation was spent, data in the report showed.
“There were too many controls on the fund for capacity building under JNNURM-I and states were concentrating more on projects,” a member of the steering group said, requesting anonymity.
The steering group was set up to coordinate work done by the ministries of urban development and housing and urban poverty alleviation on capacity building, the member cited above said. The group met for the first time on Wednesday.