Monday, February 22, 2010

Reddy Inaugurates Workshop on Centres of Excellence

PIB Press Release
Establishing the Centres of Excellence for promoting various facets of urban development and management will go a long way in improving the financial management of urban local bodies, efficiency in service delivery, effective planning process, citizen interface and public participation, transparency and accountability. This was stated by Shri S.Jaipal Reddy, Union Minister for Urban Development while inaugurating a Workshop on Centres of Excellence on Urban Development and Urban Transport, here today. He further said that all these identified Centres of Excellence established within reputed professional institutions should emerge as resource centres in varied aspects of urban development, urban trasnsport and urban governance etc.

He opined that project and studies taken up by these centres will help in developing managerial, technical and analytical skills which can gainfully be deployed by the Urban Local Bodies.The Centres of Excellence should concentrate in those areas which are devoid of capacities and should be demand driven. The Minister advised that outcome of the projects should be followed by wide scale awareness programme so as to replicate the results on a larger canvas. He further said that the core expertise of Centres of Excellence needs to be well reflected in projects and studies assigned to these centres. India is a vast country with diverse physical, social, cultural and urban settings. The outcome of the projects taken up by Centres of Excellence should therefore meet the requirements of urban sector across the country, he added.

Shri Reddy mentioned that due to rapid population growth many urban areas are hard pressed to provide infrastructure, housing and other services. Urban Development is inseparably linked to provision of civic amenities to all the citizens living in urban areas as well as empowerment of urban local bodies to enable them to become financially sustainable democratic institutions capable of providing good quality civic services. He said that the Ministry of Urban Development has been in the forefront to usher in critical reforms in urban sector as well as creation of infrastructure through Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and other initiatives like Service Level Benchmarking, National Urban Sanitation Policy, NERUDP etc. The Minister informed that amount worth Rupees 95,500 crores have already been sanctioned for various projects like Solid waste management, Water Supply, Sewerage projects and Storm water drainage under JNNURM which means 90% of the money has been spent on basic services. Referring to the Second Economic Stimulus Package, which was to provide desired Stimulus to the automobile industry, the Minister said that the Ministry sanctioned 15000 Buses - Low floor, AC, Semi - Luxury Buses for urban transport under (JNNURM). Funds for the sanction of the buses were provided as additionality over the Statewise/citywise allocation under JNNURM. Similarly, the Minister said that Metro projects for Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi were sanctioned to provide safe and quick public transport to the commuters.

Shri Reddy stated that Developed urban land needs to be used very judiciously and optimally. The Centres of Excellence should develop land use models for intensive use, re-use and re-cycling of urban land. He also emphasised on need to develop a comprehensive urban information system including urban land records for multipurpose application and to facilitate quick decision making. Models are also required to be developed to synchronize environmental and disaster management concerns in the urban planning and development process, he added.

With a view to augment capacity for addressing various challenges in the urban sector like wastewater management, water-use labeling, public private partnership, climate change adaptation, benchmarking of service delivery, municipal financial management, energy efficiency in the building sector, rationalization of user charges, urban planning, solid waste management, urban transport etc, the Ministry of Urban Development has established 13 Centres of Excellence within reputed academic institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology at Delhi, Chennai and Guwahati, the India Institute of Management, Bangalore, Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe), New Delhi, Centre for Environment and Development, Thiruvanthapuram, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, Centre for Environment Planning and Transport, Ahmedabad, National Institute of Technology, Warangal and the Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi. The mandate of the centres is to produce cutting-edge research, carry out capacity building activities and improve the domain’s technical knowledge base. The deliverables would include collation and dissemination of best practices in the area of municipal service delivery and reform, development of a dynamic integrated land-use planning model, preparation of climate change adaption plan for two cities, development of design guidelines for comprehensive decentralized waste water management systems, preparation of policy research papers etc. Setting up of Centres of Excellence is a part of the 100 Days Action Plan of the Ministry of Urban Development.

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