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Devolve functions, funds for Smart Cities initiative, states told

New Delhi, Jan 31
Union Minister of State for Urban Development Babul Supriyo Saturday urged the state governments to devolve necessary functions, funds and functionaries to the urban local bodies to enable them to take up the challenges under Smart Cities initiative.

Supriyo was speaking at the conclusion of the two-day Consultation Workshop of States and Stakeholders on Smart Cities, which was held on the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take the states on board before proceeding with a the launch of the Smart Cities initiative.

It was attended by the principal secretaries and municipal commissioners from about 25 states, industry representatives and urban experts.

The workshop suggested minimum educational qualifications for corporators, fixed tenure for mayors and municipal officials, increased floor area ratios, online services and digital connectivity, land monetization, economic master planning of cities before physical master plans as reforms for small and metropolitan cities.

The suggested reforms also include improving revenues through 100 percent collection of taxes and user charges.

Outlining the criteria for the selection of cities for development as smart cities, it was workshop suggested the availability of a vision and city development strategy, progress under the Swachh Bharat Mission, timely payment of salaries to municipal staff, an information and grievance redressal mechanism and e-News Letter as basic eligibility conditions for participation in the "Smart City Challenge" competition.

The workshop also suggested parameters and weightage points for final selection of cities to be developed as smart cities which included self-financing ability(25 percent weightage), institutional systems and capacities (25 percent), existing service levels and committed plan of action for three years (25 percent), past track record in implementing reforms(15 percent) and quality of vision document(10 percent)