New Delhi, Jul 22: In less than a month since the launch of the 'Smart City' Mission by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Puducherry has emerged as the first city to send its nomination to the Centre for the ambitious programme.
The Union Territory of Puducherry has nominated its capital city for inclusion in the 100 Smart Cities Mission launched on June 25.
Chief Secretary of Puducherry has forwarded the nomination along with all the forms and documents including the details of evaluation of all the five urban local bodies (ULBs) in the Union Territory as required in the Stage-1 of 'City Challenge' competition.
These ULBs include Puducherry, Oulgaret, Kariakal, Mahe and Yanam. According to a senior ministry official, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has complimented the Puducherry government for being the first to send Smart City nomination and urged the Chief Minister N Rangaswamy to keep up the momentum.
The High Powered Steering Committee (HPSC) constituted as per the Mission Guidelines and headed by Chief Secretary has overseen the process of first stage intra-state competition and sent its recommendations to the Urban Development Ministry of the Government of India.
Puducherry which has a population of 6,57,209 has done well in respect of several Stage-1 evaluation criteria and scored 75 of the possible 100 marks.
HPSC has reported that Puducherry Municipal Corporation has achieved 18 per cent improvement in provision of household sanitary latrines since 2011. It has increased internal revenue generation continuously over the three year period 2012-13 to 2014-15 marking an improvement of 14 per cent.
The corporation has paid salaries of staff till last month and has got accounts audited up to 2012-13 as required to participate in the competition.
It has also met 23 per cent of its capital expenditure from internal resources and also met about 80 per cent operation and maintenance costs of water supply through user charges.
Besides it has an operational online grievance redressal system and published monthly e-news letters and posted details of municipal budget expenditure for the last two financial years on its website.
As required under the Smart City Mission Guidelines, the Puducherry Government has also furnished a copy of the order constituting an Inter-Departmental Task Force to advice and coordinate preparation of Smart City proposal for the capital city besides assisting the High Powered Steering Committee.
As per the criteria for assigning Smart City slots for each state and UT, based on equal weightage for urban population and number of urban local bodies and to ensure geographical equity, Puducherry has been assigned one slot under the Mission.
Urban Development Ministry is in regular contact with all the states and UTs regarding progress of Stage-1 of 'City Challenge' competition ever since they were asked to send their nominations by the end of this month. As per reports, the competition is progressing well.