New Delhi: Addressing the Orientation Workshop/Programme on Urban Governance for Mayors/Chairpersons and Municipal Commissioners/Chief Executives Officers from Urban Local Bodies from Jammu & Kashmir, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Earth Sciences, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Science and Technology, MoS PMO and Minister of State Ministry of Personnel and Public Grievances, Dr Jitendra Singh , who is also Chairman Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), emphasised municipal economic growth and said that small and medium towns of J&K will play an important role to develop municipal infrastructure as enabler to economic activities particularly in the areas of processing agro-produce, weaving industry, and development of IT services.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that transition from agriculture sector to manufacturing is particularly important for J&K which has taken up specific steps towards rapid economic growth and investments in the state economy, particularly during the last three years. These steps will bring a shift in the economic profile of the state and create more jobs in manufacturing and services.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, Prime Minister Modi has great plans for the development of J&K and accordingly, we have established urban local bodies as per 74th Constitution Amendment Act. He said, with elected bodies, application of urban missions of Government of India like the development of Infrastructure, improvement of quality of life, environment, mobility, water and sanitation will achieve full potential.
Dr Jitendra Singh pointed out that the three day orientation programme will provide a suitable exposure on government missions, schemes and programmes. He noted with satisfaction that towns in state are taking important steps in Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), Livelihood promotion, AMRUT (ATAL Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) and PMSVanidhi which is helping street vendors with working capital loans and concessions on timely repayment and digital transactions. The Minister added that water, sanitation, mobility and housing are key areas of attention. He said, Jal Jeevan Mission is focussing on Har Ghar Nal se Jal and informed that the state has achieved ODF (Open Defecation Free) status for all the urban areas. Smart Cities Mission is providing infrastructure and governance, while PMAY is focusing on affordable housing.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, in the light of global examples, India has also followed expansion of manufacturing and services within and around urban areas and this non-farm sector is providing 86 percent of GDP whereas only 35-40 percent population is living in urban India. He said, it is visible in our country that the states with the above average level of urbanisation have much higher per capita income than states with low level of urbanisation like Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha etc. The states from Gujarat up to Tamil Nadu have either achieved 50% mark (Tamil Nadu) or are closer to the urban majority, the Minister pointed out.
Coming back to the J&K, Dr Jitendra Singh said, J&K has 27% urban population in 2011 and this poses a challenge to move towards half way mark of urbanisation which means more attention on industries and investment in coming decades. This journey process means acceleration of urban sector reforms effectively for municipal services and infrastructure as initiated by our urban missions and underlined that the role of elected leaders of municipal bodies will be important to achieve this goal as these leaders constitute a pool of grass root leaders and promote a bottom up leadership in our federal structure of democracy.
In his concluding remarks, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the organisation of this course by IIPA in the 75th years of Independence has special significance in view of our plans for [email protected] He said, during the next 25 years India will undergo a transition from semi-urban (25% plus) to urban majority society and economic growth and urbanisation will go hand in hand. The Minister hoped that this three day visit on urban governance will provide live cases and agenda for each of our elected representatives and will add to our efforts to make the State a clean, green and productive city.