Madhavi Rajadhyaksha, TNN, Feb 27, 2011, 03.44am IST
MUMBAI: Maharashtra’s utilization of central funds under Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP), a sub-mission of JNNURM, shows that it lags behind that of poor performers like Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh. Punjab and Goa are among the worst performers (see box).
The BSUP mission is meant to provide the urban poor with improved housing, water supply and sanitation, and also ensure that they receive other vital universal services such as education, health and social security.
Ministry officials said the reasons for under-utilization by states ranged from slow progress of projects, non-furnishing of project proposals for sanction to lack of litigation-free land.
Commenting on Maharashtra’s poor showing, Amita Bhide, chairperson, centre for urban governance and planning at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, said the problem lay in the fact that the state government interprets basic services to the poor mostly in terms of slum rehabilitation. “Within that too, there are no projects for improvement of slums, but largely only for relocation of slum-dwellers to far-flung areas. While the goals are ambitious, they are not in keeping with people’s needs,” she said.
Bhide added that the completion of a project depends on a lot of factors like procuring land, resistance from people who may have to be relocated, building designs and permissions which may explain delays and overall under-utilization of funds.
Simpreet Singh of the National Alliance of People’s Movement points out that ironically, the Maharashtra government often uses the lack of funds as an excuse for not providing affordable houses to the poor in cities. “This shows that the government does not care about the welfare of the poor and is merely interested in using them as votebanks,” he says.