The municipal corporation of Pune is supposed to place its proposal for the initial round of the Smart Cities project. The proposal is to be made to Maharashtra Government in the upcoming week and it has already received the standing committee’s consent. However, before it is accepted, there are certain guidelines that the Pune Municipal Corporation will have to satisfy, according to Kunal Kumar, the municipal commissioner. He says that the civic body will need to emphasise its financial capabilities and also present its track record on the basis of the same. Kumar had recently convened a meeting, which was attended by civic officers and heads of various departments. This was where the proposal was reviewed as well.
Pune Municipal Corporation Presents Proposal for Smart Cities Project
This is the first round of selection by Maharashtra Government and the proposal presentation is a part of the process. The Smart Cities mission was launched officially in June 2015 by Narendra Modi. The national administration had also announced the guidelines that are to be followed for selecting the cities. The first stage is known as City Challenge Competition. In this stage the states will rank the various cities on the basis of the predetermined criteria. After this stage gets over, the highest scorers will then go on to the second round of selection.
Emphasis on Present Levels of Service
The present levels of service are one of the major criteria for progress in the competition. This is why the PMC has initiated a number of benefits for its residents. There is an online service where road complaints are being dealt with and where property tax is being paid online. It also happens to be the first major municipal body in Maharashtra to have created a web-based model for approving building permissions. It has also started an online newsletter as well as a Facebook page.
What Else Needs to be Done?
PMC has also uploaded the civic budget on the internet. According to the criteria, the civic body will need to prove its eligibility from an institutional point of view. It does not have in place any system for imposing penalties in case there is a delay in service delivery. Thus, greater efforts have to be made to make sure that its systems for generating revenue internally are better than before. However, as far as self-financing is concerned, PMC employees have always received their salaries on time. The PMC has utilised funds that have come its way through Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in a proper way and this is one of its many positive aspects. It has finished a number of JNNURM projects, which had been sanctioned to be completed before 2012.
Smart City Reports from Bengal Municipalities Expected by Next Week
The chiefs of 59 municipalities in Bengal took part in a meeting on 7 July 2015. At the meeting they were informed about the guidelines instituted by the central government for taking part in the aforementioned national level competition. After the initial stages are done, only four of these municipalities will be chosen to receive funds for creating smart cities.
During the meeting, the municipality heads also received information on other programmes of the Indian Government like Housing for All and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation or AMRUT. The urban local government bodies and municipalities have now been asked to come up with self-assessment reports that are supposed to be presented by the next week. Debashis Sen, the Urban Development Secretary, has said that once the reports are submitted they will be sent for scrutiny to a state-level committee. The Chief Secretary will lead the said panel, along with a number of secretaries from various departments of the state government and the Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
Sen has further stated that the names of selected municipalities will be sent across to the Ministry of Urban Development by the end of July. As has been pointed out by officers, the basis of selection will be the infrastructure they are capable of providing and the extent to which they are able to make use of the facilities that are provided to them. Their location and revenue-earning capacity will be important as well.
Benefits for Civic Bodies
A webpage has also been set up where the guidelines for selection have been uploaded. The benefit of such a facility is that the urban civic and local government bodies can keep track of the guidelines and refer to them as and when they want to. This will also help them prepare the self-assessment reports for making the smart cities. A WhatsApp group has also been created for answering the questions posed by these bodies.
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