Modi Government’s long promised smart city plan is set to kick off. Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Monday that the project will start with the selection process.
“A Smart Cities Challenge system will be approved by the cabinet anytime this month. Cities must qualify themselves through city-challenge criteria like sanitation, clean water, power, greenery quotient and ratio between revenue and expenditure on municipal salaries,” Naidu said.
The project is to be of a public-private partnership (PPP) kind as the government needs help from the industry.
The government’s role in the project will be of a facilitator or “handholding” and the focus will be on transparency and accountability.
The selection process will start by the end of this month.
BJP President Amit Shah on Sunday said that the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was “very necessary” and added that the government was working on building a consensus with stakeholders in the northeast.
Addressing the media here, Amit Shah also said that the government had brought the bill after much thought and Home Minister Rajnath Singh was holding consultations with various people to address the opposition to the issue.
“There are two sides of a coin. There are decisions that some like and some don’t… The fate of huge number of refugees can’t be kept hanging in the balance and we are firm on it,” he said.
Asked what would be the BJP’s stand if suggestions come to withdraw the Bill as it has created unrest in the entire northeast, Amit Shah said: “Home Minister is holding discussions with political parties. Discussion with some parties have already taken place. If consensus emerges, we will definitely move ahead but the Citizenship Bill is highly necessary for the country.”
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered India before December 31, 2014.
Political parties and civic groups in the northeast say if this is implemented, “outsiders” will overwhelm the local population.
The BJP President was also committed to build a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya.