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Citizens to decide smart cities: PM Modi

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New Delhi: “Smart cities will be selected through a bottom-up rather than top-down approach, where the decision would be made by the citizens and municipalities concerned”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday.

“For the first time such an approach is being taken, where neither the centre nor states will decide. The decision to become a smart city will be taken by the citizens themselves, and by the municipalities,” Modi said while launching the three missions on Smart Cities, the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation, Urban Transformation and Housing for All.

“The city’s vision towards its future development is necessary for any programme’s success. Otherwise it will get bogged down, where state-level departments and agencies are awaiting directions from the centre, while cities are awaiting a decision from the state governments,” he said.

“It will be a selection process for smart cities according to parameters, and thereafter the Centre and states will come in to help realise it. Competition is critical factor for the success of the programme,” Modi added.

Smart City aspirants will be selected through a ‘City Challenge Competition’ intended to link financing with the ability of the cities to perform to achieve the mission objectives.

Cities must qualify themselves through city-challenge criteria like sanitation, clean water, power, greenery quotient and ratio between revenue and expenditure on municipal salaries.

The government has approved the Smart Cities Mission under which 100 new smart cities, would promote adoption of smart solutions for efficient use of available assets and enhance the quality of urban life, would be made.

Each selected city would get central assistance of Rs.100 crore per year for five years.

(IANS)

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The Answer to The Impending Questions On Demonetization Are Here

While it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

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Indian Currency. Pixabay

Nearly all of the currency removed from circulation in a surprise 2016 attempt to root out illegal hoards of cash came back into the financial system, Resever Bank of India  has announced, indicating the move did little to slow the underground economy.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s currency decree, which was designed to destroy the value of billions of dollars in untaxed cash stockpiles, caused an economic slowdown and months of financial chaos for tens of millions of people or demonetization.

Modi announced in a November 2016 TV address that all 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes, then worth about $7.50 and $15, would be withdrawn immediately from circulation. The banned notes could be deposited into bank accounts but the government also said it would investigate deposits over 250,000 rupees, or about $3,700. The government eventually released new currency notes worth 500 and 2,000 rupees.

 

demonetization
An activist of Congress party hold the banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

 

In theory, the decree meant corrupt politicians and businesspeople would suddenly find themselves sitting on billions of dollars in worthless currency, known here as “black money.”

“A few people are spreading corruption for their own benefit,” Modi said in the surprise nighttime speech announcement of the order. “There is a time when you realize that you have to bring some change in society, and this is our time.”

But even as the decree caused turmoil for those in India who have always depended on cash — the poor and middle class, and millions of small traders — the rich found ways around the currency switch. In the months after the decree, businesspeople said that even large amounts of banned currency notes could be traded on the black market, though middlemen charged heavy fees.

demonetization
Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with mayor, flickr

The reserve bank of India report said in its Wednesday report that 99.3 percent of the $217 billion in notes withdrawn from circulation had come back into the economy. Some officials had originally predicted that number could be as low as 60 percent.

Also Read: Diverse Gathering To Be Addressed This World BioFuel Day: PM Narendra Modi

“Frankly, I think demonetization was a mistake,” said Gurcharan Das, a writer and the former head of Proctor & Gamble in India. He said that while it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

“You can’t overnight change that in a country which is poor and illiterate. Therefore, for me it’s not only an economic failure but a moral failure as well,” Das said. (VOA)

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