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PM addresses the National Conference on JNNURM

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The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, addressed the National Conferene on the Jawaharal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in New Delhi today.
The PM appreciated the Mission saying that it has fulfilled many of the expectations. "The Central Government has committed substantial funds for urban renewal, and I am happy to note, so have the States and urban local bodies. The two Ministries of Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation have approved projects and buses for urban transport worth Rs.1,03,462 crore for which the Central Government has committed assistance of Rs 55,625 crore. It is good that the focus of projects approved under the Mission has been on basic services like water supply, sewerage, drainage, solid waste management, improvement of slums and construction of houses for the urban poor," he said.
The PM reiterated his government’s firm commitment to the development of urban sector. "This commitment stems from the recognition that the balanced development of the urban sector is an integral part of our strategy of inclusive growth. It is for this reason that we cannot rest on the laurels of JNNURM and what has been achieved in the last four years even as we acknowledge its successes. We must plan big, think big and have a new vision for the future of urban India. There are a certain number of issues which require priority attention," he said.
"First, the process of municipal reform under the Mission needs to be deepened and to be more even across cities. Our urban local bodies have to develop the capacity to provide efficient, equitable and transparent governance. They have to have the ability to conceive, design and implement large projects. They have to be sensitive to the needs and well being of the urban poor," he further added.
The PM also expressed hope in launching the ambitious Rajiv Awas Yojana that will strive to create a formal space for slum dwellers within our cities and transform and redevelop these cities to make them slum-free.
"The challenges of urbanization need to be met through provision of better urban infrastructure. Detailed analytical work on estimating the cost of urban infrastructure in India is currently being done but already it is clear that the numbers will not be small. Urban infrastructure financing and development will therefore be an area that will require significant additional attention in the years to come. Further, we will need to address issues such as asset management and weak market linkages in urban infrastructure projects," the PM noted.

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