Millennium Post

'Utilisation certificate not right yardstick to assess Smart Cities Mission'

Utilisation certificate not right yardstick to assess Smart Cities Mission
New Delhi: The Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) Ministry on Wednesday said that utilisation certificate, to be submitted to the Centre by the cities, might not be an "appropriate yardstick" to assess the progress of the Smart City Mission.
Amid some media reports suggesting that the mission was yet to pick momentum as indicated by under-utilisation of Central funds, the ministry said projects worth Rs 24,511 crore have been completed or under implementation, and works worth Rs 14,296 crore were in tendering stage.
Utilisation certificate may not be an appropriate yardstick for assessing the progress of the mission, an official release said. A senior official of the ministry said that many cities were yet to submit the utilisation certificate and the last date for its submission is yet to arrive.
Besides, the certificate is generally submitted when the city spends a substantial amount from the first instalment and looks for further funding from the Centre.
Thus, the utilisation certificate does not give a "clear picture" of how much work has been completed on the ground, he said adding that a number of cities have started project implementation on ground, their utilisation certificates are awaited.
The ministry, in the release, said that assessing the progress depends on the date of selection of the smart city, as it takes around 18 months for setting up a special purpose vehicle, procuring project management consultant firm, hiring human resources and preparing detailed project reports.
For cities selected in the first round (on January 2016), where 18 months have lapsed, about 51 per cent of the projects have either been tendered or were under implementation, the release said. Since the launch of the mission, Rs 9,939 crore has been released by the Centre to the Smart Cities. Against this, 753 projects worth Rs 24,511 crore have been completed or on-ground work has started, the release said.
In addition to funds provided by the Centre, smart cities also generate funds by other means such as mobilising internal revenue sources, public-private partnerships, value capture financing, convergence. These additional funds also help cities to meet the requirement for project financing.
Further, about 287 projects worth Rs 14,296 crore were in tendering stage and the works on-ground is expected to start very soon, the release said.
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