were allocated, their utilisation was way below target, and at the end of the mission period, several projects are yet to be completed. The progress being poor, the Central government has extended the mission period by two years, only to complete pending projects.
TOWARDS JNNURM 2.0?
There is a thinking that a JnNURM phase 2 should be launched, but after 2014 after the extension period of the current one. What form should this new avatar take?
First, all organisations at the local level need to be closely examined in terms of staff requirements and their capacities need to be enhanced before starting any mission of such a huge scale. Most urban local bodies are grossly lacking in architects and town planners. In most, there are none. Vacant positions need to be filled, new positions need to be created. There is a need to attract and retain well-qualified technical staff throughout the new mission period.
Second, rather than preparing quick fix CDPs, the time-tested master plan preparation has to be strengthened. Master plans are comprehensive documents with a statutory force and envisage requirements in the long term. It should be ensured that master plans are prepared and projects should emanate from them and nowhere else. The JnNURM should become the funding mechanism for implementing a master plan.
Third, the reforms taken up in great haste need to be taken to their logical conclusion. There is little awareness on the need and purpose of reforms. Most citizens are not aware of the public disclosure law and community participation law, both laudable in their intent. Capacity building actually includes bringing awareness amongst citizens as well, as against mere training programmes to government officials.
Fourth, land development needs to be included in the mission. Urban infrastructure and land development and intrinsically interlinked and irrevocably intertwined. Public agencies have to once again take up land development on a large scale, like they did in the 80s. Today, most public agencies have virtually surrendered that to private players. As a result, we have hundreds of acres of land all over our cities in illegal land subdivisions, which creates problems for infrastructure provision in future.
Finally, project management skills need to enhanced. Management of personnel, time and money are the prerequisite of any large scale project so that the goals are achieved on time and on budget. This should include not only project formulation and implementation but also