Shift from personalized to public transport

There is a need to change the mindset and steer away from the personalized transport to the public transport. This was stated by the Union Minster Shri S. Jaipal Reddy while inaugurating the three day National Conference on Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Urban Mobility India, here today. The Minster said that the key challenge, for quite some time to come, would be a paradigm shift in the way we view urban transport. The twin pillars of this shift would be as follows:

• Firstly, keeping the interests of the pedestrians/cyclists at the core of all urban infrastructure and transport projects.

• And secondly, aligning the land-use and urban planning with the transport requirements of our people.

Shri Reddy said, “I am convinced that if we provide attractive options of public transport, which can be a combination of pedestrian walks, cycle paths, metros and above all, comfortable and convenient bus services; it will persuade the urban commuters to shift voluntarily to the public transport systems. To use public transport and thus rub shoulders with one another is surely one welcome way of leading a communitarian way of life rather than landing in elitist and secluded paradise. if we work in a mileu of collective and cooperative engagement. I am optimistic that through these collaborative efforts we will transform the future of our cities”.

The Minister demanded that there should be full exemption of the excise duty on the buses and the state government should also follow the suit. At present there is a 12% excise duty which was reduced from 16% prevailing earlier.

Referring to the Governance / Institutional Challenges, he said that the urban local bodies have yet to emerge as sustainable units of local self governance in spite of the enactment of the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act. While the 74th CAA clearly identifies powers and functions which need to be transferred to the local body level, this has not happened uniformly across the country and where it has happened, the local bodies suffer from significant shortages of skilled manpower, effective oversight.

To address the challenges of Urban Mobility of goods & people and pollution, accidents, affecting quality of life and economic growth, the Minister mentioned that Government has approved a comprehensive National Urban Transport Policy which focuses on returning the roads to the people which have been colonized by the vehicles. In addition, substantial Central financial support is available under JNNURM and other schemes of Central Government for implementing of the National Urban Transport Policy by various States. He said that to facilitate integration of land use and planning, the Central Government has recently approved a scheme under which 80% of the cost of such studies being provided as grant by the Central Government. This scheme would also cover various other urban transport studies, survey for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and even 100% funding by the Central Government for certain pilot studies.

He stated that the Government of India is also emphasizing setting up of an ITS-enabled modern city bus service in all the cities. A new scheme for capacity building in urban transport has been prepared to implement various capacity building initiatives as envisaged in the National Urban Transport Policy. Government is also urging the State Governments to set up a Dedicated Urban Transport Fund—proceeds of which can come from earmarked state and local taxes—to exclusively meet investment requirements of urban transport. Innovative policies for advertisement and parking can also contribute resources to this Fund, he added.

Highlighting the progress of JNNURM so far, Shri Reddy said that as on date 365 projects costing over Rs. 35,802 crore have been sanctioned under the sub-mission 1 for the 63 mission cities under Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) component and 525 projects worth Rs. 8,025 crore have been sanctioned under the Urban Infrastructure Development scheme in small and medium towns (UIDSSMT) by the Ministry. He further informed that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation has sanctioned 284 projects worth Rs. 18,000 crore under Basic Services for Urban Poor component for the mission cities and 506 projects worth Rs. 4,660 Crore under the Integrated Housing and Slum Development programme for the smaller towns.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. M. Ramachandran, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development mentioned that since its inception on 3rd December 2005, JNNURM has set the agenda for urban transformation across the country. JNNURM has now come to be accepted as the umbrella framework by almost all stakeholders in the urban sector, at the central, state and local level. The Mission has achieved significant progress in triggering urban infrastructure investment and implementation of urban reforms across the country. He further informed that in line with the thrust of the Mission on provision of basic services in the urban area, 110 water supply projects, 74 sewerage projects, 41 drainage (including storm water drainage) projects and, 31 solid waste management projects have been approved.

The Secretary mentioned that the Ministry has already established a mechanism to reward cities which have taken up the challenges of the Mission and have sought to excel in improving service delivery and strengthen their institutions. He said, “Today, we will recognize these cities through awards in various categories covering performance in basic services, implementation of reforms and environment initiatives. Cities should take this opportunity to constantly innovate and improve their performance. With effect from this year, excellence in urban transport in various fields is being recognised through awards in a number of categories (including the best PPP initiative, best transit project, best environmental friendly project, best intelligent transport system project, best project management and the like)”.

The best performing cities from the point of view of achievement for improvement in basic services, financial sustainability and environment initiatives were presented JNNURM Awards by the Hon’ble Minister. . The Secretaries of Urban Development of States, Mayors, Municipal Commissioner of Mission Cities of JNNURM and Heads of SLNAs participated in the Conference.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.