-Modi government wanted it differently so that urban development efforts give meaningful results. The mantra is CONVERGENCE of different initiatives. With in two months of launching of smart city mission, atal mission and housing for all, the convergence has begun to show on the ground.
-Close on the heels of announcing 98 smart cities by Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on 27th of this month, the Ministry of Housing and Urban poverty Alleviation, also headed by Naidu came out with a list of 305 cities and towns for building houses for urban poor.
-Earlier this month, UD ministry has identified 482 cities and towns, each with a population of one lakh and above as AMRUT cities for ensuring basic infrastructure like water connections to all urban households, sewer connections and septage management, storm water drains, urban transport etc.
-From the three lists firmed up so far, a clear pattern of convergence emerges, much to the delight of the government.
-An integrated look at the three lists bears out this pattern of clear convergence.
-The 9 states that have identified 305 housing cities and towns, also account for 26 of the 99 smart cities(including either Jammu or Srinagar, when the state government firms up its choice between these two) and 136of 482 AMRUT cities and towns as well.
-Of these, urban poor housing projects will be taken up in 25 smart cities and 123 AMRUT cities bringing our clear convergence that enables pooling of funds and integration of action plans. Affordable housing is an integral part of smart city initiative which focuses on inclusive development.
-Out of the 9 states under consideration, there is total convergence of housing, AMRUT and Smart City Missions in respect of Chattisgarsh (2 smart and 9 Amrut cities), Jammu & Kashmir (1 and 3), Kerala (1 and 7), MP (7 and 32), Odisha (2 and 9), Rajasthan (4 and 28), Telangana (2 and 11).
-This in effect means, 25 of the 26 smart cities in these 9 states are also covered under AMRUT and Housing missions as well and 123 AMRUT cities under housing mission.
-Only in case of Gujarat, there is a degree of deviation. One of the 6 smart city aspirants identified only Dahod does not figure in the 30 cities and towns so far identified for housing projects. 11 of 30 Amrut cities viz.,Bolad, Godhra,Goudal,Jamnagar, Junagadh,Nadiad, Morvi,Palanpur, Porbandar,Veravel and Surendranagar-Dudhrej are still to be included in the housing list.
(Identification of cities/towns for housing projects depends on demand situation and prioritization in terms of number of poor and slum dwellers in a city/town. It may be possible, as Gujarat identified more cities for housing in due course, these may be covered based on demand assessment)
-Other Amrut cities to be identified for housing projects are : Adityapur in Jhankhand and Dewas in MP.
-On being reached out for his views, UD and HUPA Minister Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu told Times of India :
I am delighted at this convergence. This clearly shows the importance being accorded by the states for convergence of new urban development schemes through right prioritization in selection of cities and towns resulting in this convergence. This enables efficient utilization of resources of both the central and state governments resources through pooling which should give better results. This is a good beginning towards addressing urban sector challenges. States shall endeavor to pool resources to be provided for assured electricity supply, providing health and education for enhancing the quality of urban life in the country.