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New urban missions would continue to be the focus area in 2017: Venkaiah Naidu

New Delhi: Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said the progress of implementation of new urban missions was encouraging in 2016 and will continue to be the focus area during the new year.

“On the whole, 2016, the first year of execution of new missions has been encouraging. We would like this momentum even to be further enhanced so that intended outcomes are realised within stipulated time frames,” Urban Development Minister Naidu told reporters.

Naidu said decentralisation of project formulation, their appraisal and approval besides substantial hand holding by both the urban ministries resulted in speedy approvals.

“City governments were required to adopt new approaches in place of the earlier business as usual attitude. They rose to the occasion to a large extent and that is evident in the pace of implementation.

“The new-found spirit of competition among states and cities is giving positive results. Ease of doing business in urban areas is improving rapidly,” he said.

Later, the Urban Development Ministry said in a statement that brisk execution of urban infrastructure projects, approval of smart city plans for 60 cities, credit rating of cities for resource mobilisation through municipal bonds, Swachh Bharat Mission picking up momentum in urban areas, enactment of Real Estate Act and notification of Real Estate Rules, made the year 2016 a new landmark in urban development.

“Under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), a total of 490 projects with an investment of Rs 6,571 crore have taken off the ground. And under Smart City Mission, that involved the complex task of converting city-wise Smart City Plans into projects warranting elaborate technical planning, 87 projects in 19 cities worth Rs 5,768 crore are under execution with seven of them already completed, even though the first batch of 20 smart cities was announced in January, 2016,” the statement added.

According to the Ministry, Swachh Bharat Mission in urban areas got close to half-way mark of mission targets in building toilets during 2016.

“As against the target of building over 66 lakh individual household toilets, 27,81,883 have already been built and construction of another 21,43,222 toilets is nearing completion as the mission gained momentum in 2016 while 5.08 lakh community and public toilet seats are required to be built by 2019,” the government said.