Dear Readers, 

Current affairs forms an important component of several competitive exams such as the UPSC Civil Services Examination, SSC CGL, Bank PO & PSU entrance tests, etc. Therefore, understanding terms/concepts that are in the news is critical for aspirants. 

New initiatives and socio- economic policies or what are known as flagship programmes announced by the Union Government are often asked in competitive examinations. Therefore, to help you deepen your understanding of the same, we at PaGaLGuY bring you information on such initiatives announced by the Government of India. 

In today’s article, we will look at the highlights of ‘Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and the Smart Cities Mission.’ 

The Union Cabinet approved AMRUT in April 2015 to boost economic growth and change the urban landscape of India. The Union cabinet has approved outlays to the tune of Rs.48,000 crore and Rs.50,000 crore for AMRUT and Smart Cities Mission respectively. AMRUT is closely linked to the Smart Cities Mission.

Highlights of the Smart Cities Mission

1. Under this scheme, 100 selected cities will get funds amounting to Rs.100 crore per year for the next five years.

2. The cities will be selected through a ‘city challenge competition’ that will be conducted in each state. States will then shortlist a smart city based on specified norms.

3. Special emphasis will be given to participation of citizens in prioritising and planning urban interventions. 

4. Focus of this mission will be on core infrastructure services such as clean water supply, power supply, robust IT connectivity, governance, e-governance and citizen participation, safety and security of citizens, health, education and sustainable urban environment. 

5. The smart city action plans will be implemented by Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) that will be set up for every city and state government to mobilise resources accordingly. 

6. The objective of building 100 smart cities is to promote adoption of smarter solutions for efficient use of available resources, assets and infrastructure. This is to enhance the quality of urban life and promote a clean and sustainable environment. 

Highlights of the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)

1. The AMRUT is conceptualised  to replace Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and has been allotted Rs.50,000 crore.

2. AMRUT adopts a project approach to ensure basic infrastructure services relating to water supply, sewerage, management, storm water drains, transport and development of green spaces and parks with special provision for meeting the needs of children.

3.This mission will be implemented in 500 cities and towns with a population of one lakh and above, with some cities located on the stems of main river, a few capital cities and important cities located in hilly areas, islands and tourist spots. 

4. Thanks to this mission, the states will get substantial operational flexibility in designing schemes based on the needs of identified cities and also in the execution and monitoring of the schemes. States are expected to submit the State Annual Action Plans to the Centre for broad concurrence based on which funds will be released. This is a departure from JNNURM wherein, the Union government appraised individual projects.

5. Central assistance will be to the extent of 50 percent of project cost for cities and towns with a population of upto 10 lakh and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakh. This assistance will be released in three instalments, in the ratio of 20:40:40, based on the achievement of milestones indicated in State Annual Action Plans.

The objective of both the Smart Cities Mission and AMRUT, is to meet the challenges of growing urbanisation in a sustainable manner. In other words, ensure that development benefits the poor as much as others, through better employment opportunities and increased access to urban spaces.

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