The Union urban development ministry’s bid to expand the government’s flagship Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) has been stalled by the Planning Commission. Though the ministry wanted to extend the scheme to 28 more cities, the Plan panel cited “resource constraints” due to various big-ticket projects in the social and rural sectors.
“Our ministry didn’t get the approval for introducing the urban infrastructure and governance component of JNNURM in these cities,” Minister of State for Urban Development Saugata Roy told Business Standard.
The ministry had sent a list containing 28 cities with a minimum population of 500,000 to the Planning Commission for approval. But the Planning Commission’s decision to oppose the expansion will hurt mainly the states ruled by non-Congress parties like Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Two Congress-ruled states (Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh) and UPA-ruled Tamil Nadu will also not be able to access additional funds for expanding the scheme.
The Planning Commission has also directed that further expansion of JNNURM be put off for the next five-year plan (2012-17) rather than during the remaining period of the 11th Plan. “It may be taken up during the 12th Plan period,” said a ministry official.
The ministry currently had a budget outlay of '31,500 crore for urban infrastructure and governance, said Roy.
Spread across 65 cities, JNNURM includes all state capitals and seven cities with four million population and 28 cities with one million population.
Cities with a minimum population of 500,000 which were proposed for JNNURM expansion includes Guntur, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Amaravati (President Pratibha Patil’s hometown), Cuttack, Jodhpur, Thiruchirapalli, Moradabad, Gorakhpur and Mangalore, among others.