Urban transformation missions such as PMAY (U), AMRUT and Smart Cities Mission have proved to be a boon in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on June 25.
At present, more than 22,000 houses are being dedicatedly used as COVID-19 facilities in various states and Union Territories, the minister said at a webinar to mark the 5th anniversary of PMAY (U), Smart Cities Mission (SCM) and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
Additionally, various innovative strategies, outreach activities are being documented for wider dissemination and replication among stakeholders. For this purpose, ‘COVID Urban Practices (CUP)-19’, a dedicated dashboard, has been developed and made operational to facilitate exchange of best practices, Puri said.
The integrated command and control centres (ICCC) developed under the Smart Cities Mission have helped cities in their fight against COVID, he said, adding that the 47 operational ICCCs became war-rooms and have played an effective role in COVID response.
“During the current Covid-19 crisis, 47 command and control centres created under the smart cities mission are serving as crisis management control rooms, helping monitor the on-ground situation while leveraging various technological innovations. About 33 more ICCCs are at various stages of implementation and very soon we will have 80 Smart cities with their ICCCs,” Puri said.
In Pune, each case of the city has been mapped using geospatial information systems, and city administration is monitoring the areas and creating buffer zones where patients tested positive with the COVID-19 infection, he explained. This data, he added, is being used to make containment plans by city administration.
"In Bhopal and Ujjain, the ICCC is being used as a helpline for telemedicine and counseling services for citizen."
According to Puri, nearly 5,151 projects worth over Rs 2 lakh crore have been identified in 100 smart cities. "So far, the mission has tendered around 4,700 projects worth Rs 1,66,000 crore, which is about 81 percent of the total projects proposed.”
Under SCM, an additional 1,000 projects amounting to Rs 32,500 crore have been tendered and 1,000 projects amounting to Rs 36,000 crore have begun in the last one year, he said.
As for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY-Urban), 35 lakh houses have so far been delivered to beneficiaries while 65 lakh houses are currently under construction, he stated.
The government has set a target of 1.12 crore houses in urban areas by 2022 under PMAY - Housing for All.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has received validated demand for about 1.12 crore houses under PMAY (U). Approvals for 1.05 crore houses have already been sanctioned, of which work on 65 lakh projects have begun and 35 lakh have been built and delivered to beneficiaries across the country.
The number of houses sanctioned in last five years under the mission is almost eight times, more than those sanctioned under earlier urban housing schemes in the preceding 10 years, Puri said.
On Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), the minister said the initiative is helping cities expand and upgrade their wastewater treatment infrastructure by adding more than 4300 MLD of sewerage treatment capacity and another 3000 MLD capacity addition being done by states.
The ministry has so far provided 79 lakh household water tap connections and 45 lakh sewer connections in the country.
"Seventy-six lakh conventional streetlights have been replaced with energy-efficient LED lights which have led to energy savings of 167 crore units per annum, resulting in a reduction in CO2 emission by 13 lakh tonne per annum," he said.
Owing to the implementation of the reform across 2,057 cities, including 444 AMRUT cities, India’s ranking rose to 27th position in the World Bank’s 2020 Ease of Doing Business in construction permits, moving up from 181 rank in Doing Business Report 2018, showing remarkable improvement since the implementation of the reform, the minister said.
Credit rating exercise has been undertaken in 469 of the 500 Mission citiesout of which 163 cities have been found to be investible grade. During 2019-20, eight cities raised Rs 3,390 crore through municipal bonds to undertake capital investment projects aimed at improving service delivery and city level infrastructure, he said.
Puri also launched the city finance portal that would provide financial statements of all cities on a single platform to enable sharing and learning of best practices and to help urban local bodies in accessing market funds.