Weak urban local bodies could dent J&K’s claim to smart cities

smart-cityWhile the government of India has notified the norms of the Smart cities project, and set specific guidelines for being selected as a smart city project it is very clear from the outset that only those cities which have a history of strong urban local bodies, and good governance are likely to be to able to come out as winners.

For the state of Jammu and Kashmir, though the central government has only allocated a single smart city but there are four claimants to this epithet and it is most likely that at least two smart cities will come up ultimately in the state one each from Kashmir and Jammu.

Levying a penalty for delay in service could be introduced in the state but it is unlikely that penalty could be implemented in the state.

Internal generation of revenue is a major weakness for all the four municipalities in the state as all are dependent on state government for funds though some revenue accrues to them.
Water in many parts of Jammu, Srinagar, Katra, and Anantnag is supplied by PHE and it needs to be supplied by the municipalities. JNNURM would be another point on which the urban local bodies in Jammu and Kashmir would falter as not much development has taken place under this plan as well in the state.

Parameters set up Central government for selection as Smart City on points basis.

1. Existing Service Level

i. Percentage of increase over Census 2011 or Swachh Bharat baseline on number of
household sanitary latrines, whichever is less (Form 2, Part -1) – 10 points

ii. Making operable Online Grievance Redressal System with response being sent back
to complainant (Form 2, Part-2) – (Y/N) – 5 points

iii. At-least first monthly e-newsletter published (Form 2, Part-3) – (Y/N) – 5 points, and
iv. Electronically place project-wise municipal budget expenditure information for the last two financial years on the website (Form 2, Part-4) – (Y/N) – 5 points.

2. Institutional Systems/ Capacities

i. Started to levy compensatory penalty for delays in service delivery (Form 2, Part 7) –
(Y/N) – 5 points, and
ii. Has the total collection of internally generated revenue (e.g. taxes, fees, charges)
shown an increasing trend during the last three FYs (2012-15) – (Form 2, Part 8) (Y/N)
– 10 points.

3. Self-financing

i. Payment of salaries by ULB up-to last month (Form 2, Part-9) – 5 points,
ii. Audit of accounts up-to FY 12-13 (Form 2, Part-10) – 5 points,
iii. Percentage contribution of tax revenue, fees and user charges, rents and other internal
revenue sources to the ULB Budget (actuals in 2014-15) – (Form 2, Part 11) – 10 points,
iv. Percentage of operation and maintenance cost of water supply, which is met by
collected user charges for supply of water during last FY (2014-15) – (Form 2, Part 12)– 10 points.

4. Past track record and reforms

i. Percentage of internal revenue sources (self-generated) budget funds used for capital
works during FY (2014-15) – (Form 2, Part 13) – 10 points,
ii. Percentage of City-level JnNURM Reforms achieved (Form2, Part 14) – 10 points for
six (6)ULB level Reforms, and
iii. Percentage of JnNURM projects completed, which were sanctioned during the original Mission period (upto 2012) (Form 2, Part 15) – 10 points.

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