Saturday, 8 February 2014

Transformative Impact of JNNURM

Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)
In 2005, Ministry of Urban Development launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The Mission was launched with an aim to encourage urban level reforms and fast track planned infrastructure development of identified “mission cities”. These cities were selected on the basis of population or them being State capitals, or having certain additional features. 
A cluster of 63 mission cities was identified each having a minimum of one million population including the seven metropolitan cities with more than four million population and twenty eight cities that were State capitals or had historic, religious or tourist importance. 
Later on, two more cities were added to the set of mission cities taking the total to 65 cities. The duration of JNNURM has been kept as 7 years beginning from 2005-06.
Under JNNURM, financial assistance is being provided to each of the cities for specific project planning, development and implementation for projects of water supply, sewerage, drainage, solid waste, urban transport, urban renewal, heritage preservation and slum improvement. However, amongst all other infrastructure sectors, urban transport demanded special consideration, as indicated by the extraordinary growth in urban traffic conditions, depleting public transport services and the impact of road pollution to the urban environment.
JNNURM has been instrumental in rejuvenating the urban space in the country. Post independence, JNNURM has been the country’s first national flagship programme of this nature and size for the urban sector. It is for the first time that the central government is providing assistance of this kind for what is classified as a State subject as per the Constitution. One of the Mission’s objective is to break the vicious circle of poor cost recovery - low investment - poor service delivery. JNNURM has managed to provide a strong impetus to investments in urban sector and incentivized cities to develop sustainable investment frameworks through service delivery reform and cost recovery of services provided.
The Mission has definitely helped raise awareness and concern about problems of urban growth and management. Urban matters are talked about more widely and more frequently these days than before. Getting on to the JNNURM bandwagon, has become both important and useful for the State and City officials as well as political leaders.
 For the first time the largesse from the Centre is claimed to be contingent upon various reforms. Mission seeks a different kind of identity, because it is contingent on reforms. The mandatory reforms also provide for a public disclosure law and a community participation law to institutionalize transparency and enable citizen’s participation.
The Mission has actively advocated the role of Public Private Partnership (PPP). With the launch JNNURM, both the macro-environment as well as project-level micro environment is becoming more and more congenial for PPPs in the urban sector. Many of the JNNURM-supported reforms have created favorable governance and institutional framework for private sector to feel more confident to venture into the urban sector. 
Also, the ‘4P’ framework—People-Private-Public Partnerships are being promoted as experience across the world indicates that in urban renewal and management, the role of ‘People’ in design of projects and partnerships is crucial. Therefore, best practices and models for ‘PPPP’ must be evolved and deployed for India’s urban management agenda to succeed.
In urban centres, JNNURM has led to improved quality of life of the populace as better connectivity within the city and improved transport infrastructure has helped in reducing traffic congestion, improved accessibility and safe mobility along with safe and comfortable circulation in city by affordable public transport for all. In many parts of the country, JNNURM has led to beautification of transport corridors in city which would increase the visual beauty and decrease visual pollution.
Direct project benefits include expanding sewage collection, treatment, and sanitation to obtain a more hygienic environment. The JNNURM projects have also increased the city’s capacity to handle rainwater through better drainage. The project improved drinking water quality by protecting groundwater and surface water sources. 
The Mission promotes a sound solid waste management system in which disposal is being conducted safely and hygienically, preventing blockage of drains. JNNURM has led to improved environment and public health in the project areas while promoting sustainable urban development. Without the project, environmental quality and public health will remain the same or worsen with a rapidly increasing population and associated unmanaged domestic wastes. 
Development of water, sanitation, and solid waste management infrastructure under this project aimed to enhance the overall urban environmental quality and public health of Indian cities and upgrade the parameters of quality of life like housing, natural environment, health, recreation and leisure time, social belonging, community life, public services and transport which includes water and other basic services which provides mobility and connectivity, and leads to upgrading quality of life of the citizen of India.
Many initiatives undertaken in different cities have showed that with political will and planning, our urban spaces can become liveable again. Notable of these initiatives include 24X7 water supply in Hubli-Dharwad, Ahemdabad Bus Rapid Transit System, water supply project in Nagpur and property tax collection mechanism in Bangalore. 
The JNNURM project has also partially contributes to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) like providing sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, ensuring environmental sustainability and the eradication of slums and to achieve significant improvement in the lives. JNNURM has made a quantum change in size of investments and breadth of coverage across cities and sectors. JNNURM has beyond doubt given a considerable fillip to urban infrastructure investments. 
Cities have come forward and benefitted immensely under this programme. The JNNURM definitely has transformative impact on the urban infrastructure of the country. 

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