Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi today while distributing monetary resources worth Rs 2,500 crore for Gujarat’s municipalities and municipal corporations said in entire country Gujarat has laid out a well-thought out empowerment plan in place to develop its local self governing bodies.
Announcing the provisions made for Rs 75,000 crore to be spent on urban development in coming five years, chief minister Mr. Modi said, “Gujarat has taken an initiative to have major thrust on manpower, money resources, machinery and mobility.”
Chief Minister Mr. Modi was speaking at the workshop organized by Department of Urban Development at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. Over 750 participants representing Gujarat’s eight municipal corporations, eight urban development authorities and 159 municipalities and other local self governing bodies including MLAs, MPs took part in workshop which was spanned over six sessions.
During the workshop Minister of Urban Development, Anandiben Patel shared details on innovative steps taken and achievements gained by state in having a holistic urban development all across the state. State level ministers too took part in the workshop.
During the closing session of workshop chief minister Mr. Modi gave away grants worth Rs 15,000 crore to the local self governing bodies for the second phase of Swarnim Jayanti Mukhya Mantri Shaheri Vikas Yojana.
Mr. Modi said, “Our main purpose is to have a development where Gujarat take a lead for urban development translating into better facilities and overall welfare of the people especially the poor and thus bring marked improvement in standard of life for them.” Mr. Modi said Gujarat perceives urbanization as an opportunity to empower urban development and not a crisis.
Mr. Modi gave details on how the well thought urban development plan was put in place to address neglected areas of urban development during year 2005, which Gujarat celebrated as Shaheri Vikas Varsh.
Mr. Modi said, “Health services for the urban poor was neglected across the country and it was Gujarat’s initiative to set up services network for the urban poor’s health that the Central Government emulated and later on launched Urban Health Mission.”
Gujarat has urban population of 42.18% and it will be around 50% if populations of surrounding different urban centres are added. In 2001, Gujarat has budget of Rs 127 crore and today it has crossed Rs 6,000 crore. This is excluding the local budgets of the municipal corporations. Mr. Modi, “It needs to be understood how seriously we are focusing on the urban development.”
Chief Minister Mr. Modi said, “Local governing bodies has brought valuable changes in their functioning creating a synergy between technology and their available talents. It has offered an inspiration message to all. By going online in their activities like tax collection and other tendering process, it has brought in transparency too.”
Mr. Modi said, “It is also duty of elected representatives of these bodies to see that urban development is done in right manner. They can inspire citizens at large to love their cities and set an example.”
Mr. Modi said he called on the representatives to take on challenges posed by malnutrition in urban poor mothers and children, sanitation facilities especially in slums and give importance to have playgrounds for the youth.
Taking about the grants, Mr. Modi said it remains to be seen that development works in urban areas bring satisfaction and overall welfare to the people at large and not by just spending the budget amount in stipulated period till March end.
Talking about Urban Affordable Housing Project, the Chief Minster said, “It is our duty to see that those lower income group urban residents get the benefit of 22 lakh houses for which work has already begun.”
Mr. Modi said, “CCTV camera can be put to good use in monitoring the cleaning activities of the city. Surat has taken a lead in this. Polluted cities like Ahmedabad and Surat have set an example becoming clean and environment friendly cities.”
Mr. Modi also said requested to have such workshops at zonal and district level to have continuous dialogue and exchange of ideas on urban development.
On this occasion, Minister of Urban Development Anandiben Patel, Minister of state for Law, Judiciary and Legislative Pradipsinh Jadeja, Minister of state for Education, Women and Children’s Welfare Vasuben Trivedi, city mayors of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and other municipal corporations, MLAs, MPs and members and officials of different Urban Development Authority in the state were present in the valedictory session.