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Rapid urban transformation need of hour: Naidu

New Delhi: “We don’t have the luxury of time,” Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu today told officials of state urban development departments as he stressed the need to carry out urban sector reforms in a time-bound manner.

Addressing a national workshop on urban development, he said that the issues like urban governance, planning and innovative financing are “critical” for urban transformation in a quick time.

“Many more miles have to be travelled to realise the desired urban transformation… We don’t have the luxury of time. Next three years are very critical for placing our cities and towns on a sustainable path of development,” he said.

The workshop was held to discuss with states the five reform measures recommended by a group of secretaries on urban sector.

The Urban Development Ministry has suggested a three-year timeframe for the implementation of these reforms which included cities and urban local bodies getting credit ratings, initiatives for value capturing finances, adopting ‘trust and verify’ method, land title reforms and bringing in professionalism in municipalities.

Under the trust and verify approach, the government gives nod for various services like low-risk building construction first and then do the verification.

Underlining that there is a growing competition among the states for resources, Naidu urged them to radically reform urban governance, planning and financing to attract investments.

An investment of over Rs 2.80 lakh crore has been approved for urban development and housing schemes in about two years, the minister said while describing it “much higher” than that in the previous 10 years.

Naidu complimented the states for doing well in building toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) and voiced concern over low results in respect of solid waste management.

The new policies and schemes — Transit Oriented Development Policy, Green Urban Mobility Scheme, Metro Policy, Value Capture Financing Policy Framework, City Liveability Index and Fecal Sludge and Septage Management Policy — were also discussed at the workshop.

Minister of State for Urban Development Rao Inderjit Singh and Urban Development Secretary Rajiv Gauba were among those present on the occasion.