[ecis2016.org] In an attempt to encourage local bodies to speed up reforms, the Urban Development Ministry has proposed a six-fold increase in the ‘reform incentive fund’, from the present amount of Rs 500 crores, to over Rs 3,000 crores per year
The Urban Development Ministry has proposed a six-fold increase in its ‘reform incentive fund’ to over Rs 3,000 crores annually, over the next three years, to push implementation of various schemes in the urban sector.
For providing the incentives, the cities will be ranked based on performance under five reforms – getting credit ratings, initiatives for value capturing finances, adopting ‘trust and verify’ method, land title reforms and bringing in professionalism in municipalities. These set of reforms were recommended by a group of secretaries, for bringing in transformation in the urban sector.
“To incentivise, implementation of these five transformational reforms, the Ministry of Urban Development has proposed to increase the ‘reform incentive fund’ from Rs 500 crores during 2017-18 to over Rs 3,000 crores per year, over the next three years of implementation period,” an official release said. In 2016-17, about Rs 400 crores was distributed, for those who pursued reforms indicated in AMRUT guidelines.
The Urban Development Ministry has come out with an implementation framework, for these reforms, under which it targets to provide online approval facility for building construction in all 4,041 cities and towns by 2019-20. Under the trust and verify approach, the government will give its nod for various services, like building construction first and then, do the verification. The move aims to cut down on delays for granting permissions, by adopting a ‘grant approvals first and verify later’ approach.
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Besides, the government has set a deadline of March, 2020, to make available title certificates for all properties in the next three years, on the recommendations of the panel.
Citing a study by consultancy firm McKinsey, the panel noted that 90% of the land records in the country are unclear and ‘land market distortions and unclear land titles’ are costing the country 1.30% of the GDP per year. It recommended enactment of land titling laws and their implementation in a specific time frame.
The ministry will discuss these reforms with states and Union Territories at a national workshop on urban development. To be chaired by Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, the workshop will also witness discussions on new initiatives like the Transit-Oriented Development Policy, Metro Policy, Green Urban Mobility Scheme, Value Capture Policy and Fecal Sludge Management Policy.
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