Urban mission on hold till polls

New Delhi, Jan. 16: The government has decided to put on hold the second phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission till next year's general elections as very little political mileage has come its way through the scheme.

Sources said the urban development ministry would approach the cabinet committee on economic affairs tomorrow for approval of an interim amount of Rs 15,000 crore to fund infrastructure projects till then.

"There is a clear priority shift in the government's planning. With plans for upcoming bills, such as food security, going to be budget-intensive, the government no longer wants to spend money on the urban renewal mission," said a senior official.

Other than JNNURM buses, which prominently display the logo, the government has been finding it tough to impress voters about the Centre's contribution to the project.

The Congress had also struggled to inform voters during the recent polls in Gujarat, where chief minister Narendra Modi had highlighted development as one of the BJP government's achievements, that the Centre was funding infrastructure projects.

Over 1,350 projects have been approved since the urban mission was launched in 2005, but only 423 projects have been completed so far. The first phase ended on March 31 last year.

The change in the government's thinking has been almost sudden. Former President Pratibha Patil, in her address to Parliament on March 12 last year, had said the mission's second phase would be launched soon. The President's speech to Parliament, drafted by the government, is usually indicative of its policies.

In 2011, the government set up an expert committee, which recommended that since the JNNURM was the first attempt at investing in urban infrastructure, it needed at least Rs 40 lakh crore in funds. The committee suggested that ideally, 0.25 per cent of the GDP should be invested in the mission.

The proposal for the second phase had been pushed around between the urban development ministry and the Planning Commission for a long time. In October, the urban development ministry took the plan to the Expenditure Finance Committee.

Before getting approval from the cabinet, every project has to be cleared by this committee that has members from all ministries.

According to sources, the finance ministry was reluctant to foot the bill for the second phase, citing paucity of funds.

The finance ministry insisted on stringent conditions, an official said.

The ministry wanted the government to give financial assistance only if municipalities were stable enough to float bonds in the open market.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bowling worries for Super Kings

Bowling worries for Super Kings

After failing to defend a mammoth 205 against Kings XI Punjab, Chennai have a lot to think about. More »

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

The class act from Saurashtra may have to rethink his approach to the mannerless format. More »

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

The BCCI is likely to convene a special general body meeting (SGM) in May to replace N Srinivasan on the board's disciplinary committee. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Roach escapes injury after car crash

Roach escapes injury after car crash

The West Indies fast bowler lost control of his BMW sedan due to slippery road conditions in his native Barbados on Saturday. More »

[INTERVIEW] Jayawardene and Sangakkara

[INTERVIEW] Jayawardene and Sangakkara

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara go over their World T20 win, and feel grateful to have fans whose support remains unwavering in victory and de… More »

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

[T20 Newsline] Lacklustre Super Kings, fast-improving Sanju Samson and other news from IPL-7. More »

Repose faith in Indian coaches

Repose faith in Indian coaches

All of them cost plenty of dollars which I feel is unnecessary for a two- month tournament, says former cricketer Yajurvindra Singh. More »

Cook relieved after period in limbo

Cook relieved after period in limbo

The England captain is looking forward to a fresh start after a dispiriting Ashes defeat last year. More »

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

As Lanka's head coach decides to jump ship, euphoria over winning an ICC tournament has dissipated into fuistration. More »

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Sri Lanka's chief selector is upset at news of head coach Paul Farbrace's possible move to England. More »

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

The former CBI Director is one of three candidates proposed by the BCCI to head the enquiry into the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »