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Kerala budget 2017: Rs 100 crore for smart city, AMRUT draws a blank

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The state has been circumspect in reserving funds for centrally sponsored schemes like AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) and Smart City. The entire budgetary allocation, Rs 100 crore, for central schemes is categorised under Smart City mission.While this amount might be meant as state’s equivalent share for the proposed Smart City in Kochi, the fund for AMRUT remains uncertain. Under Smart City Mission, the Union government proposes to give financial support to the extent of Rs. 48,000 crore over five years. An equal amount will have to be contributed by the state ULB (urban local body). The estimated project cost of Kochi Smart City is Rs 2,076 crore.

The total funding under Smart City mission will be Rs 1,077 crore, of which Rs 500 crore is central grant. The remaining amount will come from state grant ULBs. While the finance minister is justified in giving only what is required for Kochi, the budgetary expectations for AMRUT have been brushed aside. The high-powered steering committee had noted that the total central allocation to the state under AMRUT during the mission period (2015-16 to 2019-20) is Rs 1,161.2 crore.

The state and the mission cities have to put in a matching share and hence the total outlay under AMRUT mission is Rs 2,333.92 crore for five years. The SHPSC had decided to bring this matter to the notice of the cabinet and seek the support of the state. Officials said that a request was also forwarded to the state government in this regard; however budget makes no mention of any such financial assistance.

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