Shrinivas Kowligi, Partner – Smart Cities and Urban Transformation, Ernst and Young LLP says many ‘Smart City Watchers’ may have been dismayed by the absence of even mention of core urban sector schemes in Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s budget speech.
They can take heart that the Union Budget FY 16-17’s allocation of Rs. 72.96 billion for Smart City Mission and AMRUT finds mention in the annex, and it is just marginally higher than the previous year.
Smart City Mission and AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) are the two flagship schemes in the urban sector, which support creation of world-class urban environments in select cities to make them competitive, and for a larger set of cities and towns target creation of basic infrastructure services in water supply, sanitation and transport.
Unfortunately, the budget allocations have not kept apace this year, Kowligi said. This move clearly signals the need for urban India to get more ‘smart’ about the way it funds its infrastructure and service delivery.