Second round of Smart Cities, AMRUT may roll out in 2020

Those who were left out will be covered, says Minister The second round of the Centre’s flagship urban development schemes — the Smart Cities Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) — were being considered and could be rolled out in 2020, Union Minister of State (independent charge) Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri told The Hindu . The first round of the Smart Cities Mission that covers 100 cities would be 50% complete, that is 50 cities, by December, Mr. Puri said. “I need to be careful, I can’t start talking about Smart Cities two because for too many people, their desire is to get another smart city. And this is a project till 2022. I think sometime around next year the pressures will begin to build, like it has in the AMRUT scheme,” he said, adding that the government was already working on it. Mr. Puri said AMRUT, a five-year scheme, started in June 2015. Many of its water and sewage management projects would get completed towards the end of the scheme — June 2020. “People are talking about AMRUT 2. Because there are 500 cities and the criteria was a population of 1,00,000, which gave a coverage of something like 65% of urban population. So what about the remaining 35%? We’ll need to come up with an AMRUT 2 scheme,” he said. He said the exact number of cities to be covered — whether 50 or all the remaining 35% — would have to be decided. Another option, he said, would be to include the projects under the newly formed Jal Shakti Ministry’s mandate. “In some respects we have been overtaken by events. Because now you have the Jal Shakti Ministry, which is working on water taps in every home so it may get subsumed in that.” The Smart Cities Mission covers 100 cities with a total population of 9,96,30,069 with projects worth a Rs. 2,05,018 crore.

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