Just what the JNNURM needed

Involvement of elected representatives

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Danish Raza | February 21, 2011



Urban development minister Kamal Nath’s assurance to members of parliament (MPs) and members of legislative assembly (MLAs) that they will have a greater say in the implementation of the second phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) is a welcome step. 

Even a cursory reality check will reveal that the scheme has at best been a partial failure.

Of the 520 projects approved in 65 mission cities, only 53 have been accomplished.

The government sanctioned Rs 52,736 crore for the mission in the 11th Plan (2007-12). Less than half the amount has been utilised so far.

Punjab has fared the worst in implementing JNNURM. The state has drawn a paltry Rs 62 crore of the allocated Rs 617 crore. But even Delhi has availed Rs 750 crore of the allocated Rs 1,481, while Rajasthan has drawn Rs 500 crore of the Rs 808 crore available to it.

In the recent past, many MPs have attributed this failure to the fact that much of the fund allocation is done just on the basis of the demand made by the state’s urban development department and that the parliamentarians and assembly members are not kept in the loop.

The government claims that with the people’s representatives on board the second phase of the mission will be an improvement.

To begin with, the ministry will provide the MPs booklets containing the details of JNNURM implementation since its inception. To make sure the parliamentarians give regular feedback, the ministry has formulated a consultative committee.

Whatever the mechanism, things can only get better because elected representatives are sure to have more of a stake in the results on the ground than the bureaucrats.

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