Ahmedabad: Indicating at a major policy decision that his government was planning, Union minister for urban development, housing and urban poverty alleviation Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said that in coming days central government will fund only those states or cities which are ready for reform and have good performance record.
The minister who was here to inaugurate international conference — ‘Muncipalika’ — on sustainable habitat and integrated cities also announced that for people from economically weaker sections (EWS) and lower income groups (LIG), who face difficulty in purchasing a house of their own, his government was planning to provide them with incentives in form of interest subvention under a new affordable housing scheme called ‘Sardar Patel Vallabhbhai Urban Housing Mission’. This mission will be in line with Gujarat government’s affordable housing scheme which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was heading the state.
Another major initiative by his government, Naidu said, was to improve governance in urban areas. For this they will be replacing the existing Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) with a new urban mission for which guidelines are being finalised, he added. The JNNURM was introduced by Congress-led UPA government in 2005 to improve civic infrastructure and services. The first phase of the programme ended in 2012 but was extended by two years to March 31, 2014.
“In the coming days the government is planning to fund only those cities and states that are ready for reform and change,” Naidu said in his inaugural address. Fund will also be based on good performance of cities and states, he said. “A guideline is being prepared in this regard by the union government,” the minister added.
Talking about the housing for all target of the Prime Minister, Naidu said, “The Prime Minister had given us a mandate of providing housing for all by 2022. Private developers are doing their work (on housing), but our concentration will be on people of EWS and LIG. For this the central government will be providing tax incentives in form of interest subvention.”
“We will be launching the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Housing Mission for which guidelines are being prepared,” he further said in Gandhinagar.
Under the housing mission the central government will pay some percentage of the interest the bank charged from people. “This amount will be paid upfront to reduce the burden of the beneficiary,” Naidu explained. The mission will be formally launched after approval by the Economic and Finance Committee (EFC) of the parliament and the cabinet.
According to the Union minister the urban governance in the country was not satisfactory and needs to be worked upon. “To improve the governance in 500 cities we will be replacing the existing JNNURM with a new urban mission soon. The rules and regulations are being framed,” he added.
The minister know for his sense of humor also coined a new term MISIDICI which is combination of abbreviation for four programmes launched by Modi — make in India, skill India, digital India and clean India.
While announcing his government’s initiative Naidu also emphasised the need for cities to generate their own revenue and create a transparent system increasing revenue.
Naidu for pilot project with Infosys on green energy
Naidu is so impressed with Infosys's ideas on green building and energy conservation that he is thinking of doing some pilot projects with the company. "Day before yesterday there was a presentation made by Infosys people about green building and energy savings. They say if we spend 10-15 per cent extra we will be able to save 30-35 per cent more power," Naidu said during a conference in Gandhinagar. "I am so impressed by their presentation that I am thinking of some pilot projects with Infosys, just to showcase the ideas to other sections of the society," the minister said.