Budget 2022: Govt plans paradigm shift in urban planning; proposes to set up expert committee

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New Delhi, Feb 2: The “business as usual” approach towards urban planning will not work and the government is planning a paradigm shift in view of rapid urbanisation in the country, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday. Presenting the Budget 2022-23, she announced setting up of a high-level expert panel for making suggestions on policy matters, capacity building and implementation.

Budget 2022: Govt plans paradigm shift in urban planning; proposes to set up expert committee

Sitharaman also announced an allocation of Rs 48,000 crore for the completion of 80 lakh houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), both rural and urban, in the upcoming financial year. “By the time India turns 100, nearly half of our population is likely to live in urban areas. To prepare for this, orderly urban development is of critical importance. This will help realise the country’s economic potential, including livelihood opportunities for the demographic dividend,” she said. For this, the finance minister stressed the need for nurturing megacities and their hinterlands to turn them centres of economic growth.

“We need to facilitate tier two and three cities to take on the mantle in the future. This would require us to reimagine our cities into centres of sustainable living with opportunities for all, including women and youth,” she observed. For this to happen, urban planning cannot continue with a business-as-usual approach, the finance minister said in her budget speech. “We plan to steer a paradigm change. A high-level committee of reputed urban planners, urban economists and institutions will be formed to make recommendations on urban sector policies, capacity building, planning, implementation and governance,” she said. States will be provided support for urban capacity building, Sitharaman said. “Modernisation of building bye-laws, town planning schemes (TPS) and transit-oriented development (TOD) will be implemented,” she said, adding this would facilitate reforms for people to live and work closer to mass transit systems.

“The Central government’s financial support for mass transit projects and AMRUT scheme will be leveraged for the formulation of action plans and their implementation for facilitating TOD and TPS by the states.” For developing India-specific knowledge in urban planning and design and to deliver certified training in these areas, up to five existing academic institutions in different regions will be designated as centres of excellence, S Sitharaman said. These centres will be provided endowment funds of Rs 250 crore each. Additionally, AICTE will take the lead in improving syllabi, quality and access to urban planning courses in other institutions, she said.

About housing, the minister said in 2022-23, 80 lakh houses will be completed for the identified eligible beneficiaries of PM Awas Yojana, both rural and urban. Rs 48,000 crore was allocated for this purpose, she said. The Centre would work with states to reduce the time required for all land and construction-related approvals, for promoting affordable housing for the middle-class and economically weaker sections in urban areas, she said. “We shall also work with the financial sector regulators to expand access to capital along with a reduction in the cost of intermediation.” For better land records management, Sitharaman said the states will be encouraged to adopt Unique Land Parcel Identification Number to facilitate IT-based management of records.

“The facility for transliteration of land records across any of the Schedule VIII languages will also be rolled out,” she said. The adoption or linkage with National Generic Document Registration System with the ‘One-Nation One-Registration Software’ will be promoted as an option for a uniform process for registration and ‘anywhere registration’ of deeds and documents. On Monday, the Economy Survey highlighted that 33.99 lakh houses were completed in 2020-21 and 26.20 lakh units as of November 25, 2021, under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G) programme. For the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U), the survey noted that 14.56 lakh houses were completed in FY21. In 2021-22, 4.49 lakh houses were completed till December 2021.

The PMAY (Urban) mission has got Rs 28,000 crore against Rs 27,000 crore in 2021-22. For Swachh Bharat Mission, the government has allocated Rs 2,300 crore. This is Rs 300 crore more than Rs 2,000 crore given in 2021-22 fiscal. Rs 6465.97 crore has been allocated to the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry to provide funds for the government’s Smart Cities Mission. Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihood Mission (DAY-NULM) has been allocated Rs 900 crore for the next financial year while in the 2021-22 fiscal the mission had been allocated Rs 795 crore. PTI

Story first published: Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 0:19 [IST]

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