Venkaiah Naidu is India's 13th Vice-President-elect: A look into urban planning schemes spearheaded by BJP leader

New Delhi: Vice president-elect M Venkaiah Naidu will be remembered for his contribution in some of the flagship schemes of the Modi government such as Smart City Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana that was undertaken by the housing and urban affairs ministry.

Naidu piloted year-long consultations with state governments and other stakeholders before launching new urban missions, an exercise people close to him said was based on his "belief in cooperative federalism".

Besides Smart City Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), Naidu will be remembered for floating schemes such as Atal Mission for Urban Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).

File image of Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

File image of Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

"Naidu believed in the Centre reaching out to states rather than the other way round, and toured state capitals to review the progress of urban mission besides understanding implementation issues in 30 states and UTs," a housing and urban affairs ministry official said.

The official said that Naidu ensured citizen involvement in urban planning to promote "bottom up approach" in the place of Delhi-driven "top down approach".

"Under Smart City Mission, about two crore urban people participated in the preparation of smart city plans," the official said.

In a first in the country, Naidu also adopted a competition based selection of smart cities for the mission.

In another first, the official said, Naidu ensured preparation of five-year comprehensive action plans for urban infrastructure development.

He laid emphasis on putting a time frame for achieving the results as against the open-ended approach of the past, the official added.

With his efforts, as against about 13 lakh affordable houses sanctioned during 2004-14, over 21 lakh houses were approved when he demitted office in a period of fewer than three years, the official said.

Besides, AMRUT action plans of all 500 mission cities for 2015-20 already stand approved.

As against only Rs 32,000 crore project investment approved for affordable housing during 2004-14, over Rs 1 lakh crore investment has been approved during the period of Naidu, the official said.

Similarly, the official said as against Rs 85,000 crore investment approved for other basic urban infrastructure projects during 2004-14, over Rs 4.50 lakh crore investment has been approved during the last three years.

In another first, Naidu introduced approving state action plans for three years (2017-20) under AMRUT, doing away with the need for states to come to Delhi every year for approval of annual plans.

The competition-based selection of cities under smart city mission and ranking of cities and towns under 'Swachh Survekshan' since 2016 has resulted in a spirit of healthy competitive federalism, the official said.

Naidu also took the initiative of holding meetings with ministers and senior officers of ministries of environment, civil aviation, culture, defence, consumer affairs to enhance ease of doing business in respect of construction permits in urban areas of the country, the official said.

The historic Real Estate (Regulation and Development ) Act, 2016 was also passed, ending eight-year-long hibernation in Parliament.

Naidu is also credited with merging the two ministries of urban development, and housing and urban poverty alleviation, giving birth to the new ministry of housing and urban affairs, a move the official said was taken for better synergy.

Naidu was the urban development and housing and urban poverty alleviation minister since May 2014 till he demitted office on being declared the NDA's vice presidential candidate.

He had also held portfolios of parliamentary affairs and information and broadcasting for around a year.

In a lighter vein, Naidu had often said that he had moved from being rural development minister in the Vajpayee government in 2000-02 to urban development minister in the Modi government.

He had often asserted that there was a certain "urban renaissance" in the country.


Published Date: Aug 05, 2017 09:50 pm | Updated Date: Aug 07, 2017 01:33 pm


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