VISAKHAPATANAM: Close to Rs 2 lakh crore of investments have been approved for the Indian urban sector in one year in a context where urban renaissance is crucial for the country’s sustained growth in the coming decades, Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Wednesday.
“The pace and scale of project and investment approvals have increased manifold since 2015 with the central government approving an assistance of Rs 1.84 lakh crore,” Naidu said at the inaugural session of the BRICS conference here on urban transition.
“This includes Rs 78,292 crore under smart city plans of 33 mission cities, Rs 45,293 crore under Atal Mission and another Rs 56,231 crore for building affordable houses for urban poor. These are the early gains of urban renaissance in the country,” the minister said.
He said it was estimated that Rs 2 lakh crore investment would be needed annually for creating urban infrastructure in the country till 2030-31.
“The Union Government during the past two years has taken up the Smart Cities Mission, the Atal Mission and the Swatch Bharat Mission with an investment potential of Rs 4 lakh crores, a huge increase in investment over the past,” he said.
Investment of Rs 15,827 crore had been approved for Andhra Pradesh during the past one year for urban schemes, with central assistance of Rs 4,571 crore, he added.
Welcoming delegates from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries, Naidu said India would make use of the expertise of these nations in building smart cities and adopting best practices.
According to the minister, stakeholder participation is being given great importance in building smart cities and Visakhapatnam was one of the cities chosen for smart city development.
Addressing the event, Vice-Chairman of Niti Aayog Arvind Panagariya said: “Of the BRICS countries, only 30-35 per cent of India’s population lives in urban settlements at present. As the percentage grows in the future, a huge challenge lies ahead of us to build quality towns and cities.”
Development of smart cities, financing urban infrastructure, inclusive housing, climate change, regional planning, water and sanitation management and new reforms for urban renaissance will be the key themes discussed at the the three-day conference here.
The conference will discuss and evolve a common agenda for BRICS to be presented later at the Habitat-III Conference at Quito in Ecuador.
It will adopt the “Vizag Declaration” that will be presented at BRICS ministerial conference in Goa next month.