Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched three mega flagship schemes – Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Housing for All (Urban) aimed at transforming urban India.
“For the first time in the country, the people, and the urban leadership would play the pivotal role in deciding the future course of their cities,” the Prime Minister said at the launch. “Those cities which were able to competitively meet the required parameters would be developed as smart cities. This competitive mechanism would end the top-down approach, and lead to people-centric urban development.”
The Prime Minister said these urban development schemes were not prepared by the Government alone, but involved perhaps the biggest consultation exercise ever taken by the Union Government, involving all stakeholders and examining global best practices.
Urging urban leaders to contribute to doing something for the good of the people, Modi said, “The aspirations of migrants from rural areas, and slum dwellers, have to be balanced with the changing global environment. Ensuring a good life for them is our responsibility.”
He said that urbanisation should be viewed as an opportunity, and urban centres should be viewed as growth engines. He called for replication of best practices from across the country. In particular, the Prime Minister mentioned Hyderabad’s tax collection system, Karnataka’s efforts for solid waste management, and Chhattisgarh’s work to eliminate open defecation.
Mentioning the challenge of rising population, he said all possible avenues should be explored to find the resources for urban development.
Citing the existing housing shortage of 2 crore units, the Prime Minister said that India was completing 75 years of independence in 2022, and by then, it was our responsibility to provide a house for everyone.
The Prime Minister said today there is a lack of holistic vision about urban planning, and expansion is driven not by the administrators of a city, but by property developers. Through AMRUT, the aim of the Government is to give cities themselves the chance to plan their future growth.
He also released guidelines for AMRUT, Smart Cities Mission and Housing for All (Urban).