Govt to consider market borrowing to fund urban renewal schemes: minister
New Delhi: With the Union government requiring close to Rs1.8 trillion to fund several of the ongoing urban renewal missions, the ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation is seriously considering market borrowings to raise resources, minister of state (independent) Hardeep Singh Puri said.
Once implementation of schemes like Smart Cities and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana gathers pace, the government will look for the required funds. “Money is available in the market. We just have to build in some safeguards. We are at an advanced stage,” Puri said.
The central government’s proposed contribution to the three main urban missions—Smart Cities, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY)—is estimated at around Rs1 trillion. Out of the Rs48,000 crore allocated for the Smart Cities Mission, less than 10% of the funds have been released in the last three budgets.
At an event organised by the Public Affairs Forum of India, Puri also said a comprehensive evaluation of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) will be undertaken shortly because the previous, and also the first, national government-led push towards urban renewal has resulted in shortfalls of a “substantial nature”.
“We will assess the extent to which the stated goals were realised, the nature of improvements undertaken, and the reasons for shortfall in physical or financial performance,” he said. “This will be done in the context of the current thrust on urban rejuvenation because it can offer important lessons for cities and towns.”
The minister also announced that a Rs300 crore garbage management plan has been approved for Delhi. Each of the three municipal corporations in the national capital will receive Rs100 crore from the urban development fund to immediately improve garbage handling capacity.
“The money will go towards procurement of decentralised plants, composting units, and vehicles and sorting machines. This will all be done by December. So, the residents of the national capital will start to get some relief soon,” Puri said.
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