Union Cabinet on 29 April 2015 approved the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) of 500 cities with an outlay of 50000 crore rupees over the next five years (2015-16 to 2019-20).
Besides, the Cabinet also approved the Smart Cities Mission with an outlay of 48000 crore rupees.
The two missions have twin objectives of meeting the challenges of growing urbanization in the country in a sustainable manner as well as ensuring the benefits of urban development to the poor through increased access to urban spaces and enhanced employment opportunities.
Main Features of AMRUT
Purpose: To develop civic infrastructure in 500 cities and towns having population of one lakh and above. The mission also includes some cities situated on stems of main rivers, a few capital cities, important cities located in hilly areas, islands and tourist areas.
Implementation: Implementation is linked to promotion of urban reforms such as e-governance, constitution of professional municipal cadre, credit rating of urban local bodies, energy and water audit and citizen-centric urban planning among others.
In this regard, a reform matrix with timelines would be circulated by the Union Government to States in the Guidelines of the mission.
Approach: The mission adopts a project based approach to ensure basic infrastructure services relating to water supply, sewerage, transport and development of green spaces among others.
States given more freedom: Under this Mission, States get the flexibility of designing schemes based on the needs of identified cities and in their execution and monitoring.Further in a significant departure from Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), now the states will only submit State Annual Action Plans (SAAPs) to the Union for broad concurrence based on which funds will be released. Under JNNURM, Union Government used to appraise even individual projects.
Funding: 50000 crore rupees will be spent under the mission over next five years. Central assistance will be to the extent of 50 percent of project cost for cities and towns with a population of up to 10 lakh and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakh.
Central assistance will be released in three installments in the ratio of 20:40:40 based on achievement of milestones indicated in SAAPs.
10 percent of budget allocation will be given to States/Union Territories (UTs) as an incentive based on achievement of reforms during the previous year.
Uncompleted projects under JNNURM: Central assistance will be extended under AMRUT to the projects sanctioned under JNNURM but not completed. JNNURM projects relating to urban development sanctioned during 2005 -2012 and achieved physical progress of 50 percent availing 50 percent of central assistance released and those sanctioned during 2012-2014 will be supported till March 2017. Accordingly, 102 and 296 projects respectively will get Central support for balance funding to complete these projects.
How AMRUT differs from Smart Cities Mission?
Though the two missions are interrelated in the sense that AMRUT seeks to lay a foundation to enable smaller cities and towns to eventually grow into smart cities, they differ in the following ways:
While Smart Cities Mission focuses on a select larger urban areas, the AMRUT mission is intended to improve infrastructure in small cities having population of one lakh and above and towns of special importance only.
While Smart Cities Mission adopts area based approach focusing on improving amenities in a specific area of a larger city, the AMRUT mission adopts functional based approach focusing on improving the delivery of services in the designated towns and smaller cities.
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When: 29 April 2015