Venkaiah Naidu slams civic bodies for dismal state in urban areas

Pulling up the civic bodies for the "dismal" state of affairs in urban areas, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said they will be have to bring in radical changes in functioning to be "creditworthy" for selection in the urban renewal project.

PTI| Updated: Jan 16, 2015, 15:08 PM IST

New Delhi: Pulling up the civic bodies for the "dismal" state of affairs in urban areas, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said they will be have to bring in radical changes in functioning to be "creditworthy" for selection in the urban renewal project.

The Urban Development Minister said the states will be asked to introduce credit rating of cities "for which we are working on a framework".

Urban mobility and sanitation has come to be a nightmare adversely affecting quality of urban life and there are haphazard urban expansion due to poor planning and execution, Naidu said and blamed the "uninspiring leadership" at both bureaucratic and political level in urban local bodies for the situation.

"The business as usual approach will not help anymore and there has to be a radical reorientation of mindsets on the part of all those concerned with management of urban affairs," he said at the consultative workshop on urban governance for municipal commissioners of northern states here.

The Ministry is finalising plans for launching development schemes for 500 cities across the country including Smart City and Heritage City projects.

"We will be launching City Challenge campaign for selecting cities and towns for participation in Smart City and 500 cities initiatives soon," he said, adding the states will be asked to introduce credit rating of cities and a framework is being worked upon.

Naidu said there is a requirement of huge resources such as Rs 40 lakh crore investment for provision of infrastructure in urban areas besides another Rs 20 lakh crores for operation and mainteanance of urban assets and utilities over a 20 year period.

"The desired resource mobilisation through lending and other means will depend on credit worthiness of urban local bodies. We need to enable them to become creditworthy," he said.

Asking the urban civic bodies to "perform and become credit worthy", he said "the emerging opportunities could be made use of effectively if only necessary initiatives were taken in right earnest."

Advocating a 10-point action plan for urban bodies to meet the emerging challenges, he said they need to ensure accountability and transparency.

Long term urban planning, santiation plans for all cities, regulatory bodies for pricing utilities like water and power and revision of various taxes and review of building bye-laws are among the action plan suggested for municipal commissioners.

He also suggested promotion of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.

According to the ministry estimate, while migration from rural areas to cities continue, urban population is set to increase from over 37 crore in 2011 to about 60 crore in 2030.

Currently, there is a shortage of about 18 million houses in urban areas which is certain to shoot up.

Highlighting the prevailing condition, he said only 50 percent of urban population have water connection and 40 percent houesholds have toilet facilities.

While only 16 percent of sewerage being generated in urban areas being treated at the moment, 23 percent of solid waste being generated is being efficiently collected and only 18 percent segregated at source.

He said though an effort was made under JNNURM to improve infrastructure in urban areas, the final outcome is less than targeted.