New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said states and urban local bodies hold the key to India’s urban transformation.
In his concluding remarks at the two-day consultations following launch of three urban missions by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Naidu said the central government has done its bit by formulating the missions aimed at urban renewal.
Modi on Thursday launched three initiatives — Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation and Housing for All.
Naidu said states have been given full freedom in designing, approving and execution of projects under the new missions and “states and urban local bodies (ULBs) should now rise to the occasion”.
He urged the state governments to strengthen ULBs by transferring to them funds and functionaries and enhancing their administrative, planning and technical capacities.
“Urban transformation as being intended would be a major game changer for the country and the people.”
He urged the states and ULBs to strive more to ensure housing for all the urban poor by 2022 and referred to provision of interest subvention of 6.50 percent for economically weaker sections and Low Income Groups as an indication of the central government’s commitment to help urban poor own houses.
Referring to mandatory registration of houses built under the mission either in the name of woman or jointly with husbands, the minister said this was being done since women would never think of selling house unlike men.
Naidu said there was substantial scope for foreign direct investment in construction sector including affordable housing.
He said several measures were being taken to promote housing which include increased tax incentives for investments in housing and inclusion of slum development in the list of corporate social sector activities.
Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who addressed the gathering, said the government was committed to generation of energy from municipal waste and a policy in this regard would be finalised soon.
Goyal, who also holds new and renewable energy portfolio, said his ministry was working on means of supporting the process of waste to energy conversion.
Speaking about the need for energy conservation, Goyal said the government was working on a plan for removing 77 crore high energy consuming incandescent lights with LED lamps which would result in substantial savings.