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Metropolitan municipalities can now heave a collective sigh of relief. The Centrally-sponsored scheme for infrastructural development of megacities has brought them a welcome respite, burdened as they were by huge fiscal deficits.
Infrastructural development in Calcutta, Bangalore, Bombay, Madras and Hyderabad is to take place through innovative institutional and financial mechanisms. With its emphasis on self-sustaining financial mechanisms to support infrastructural needs on a long-term basis, the proposal is a departure from the oversubsidised urban schemes currently in practice in these cities.
The new scheme is a follow-up on a recommendation by the National Commission on Urbanisation (NCU), made to the Planning Commission in August 1988. The NCU pointed out that the manufacturing, trade and transport sectors in megacities had made significant contributions to the national exchequer, which justifies the Central government augmenting the investment in the infrastructural development of these cities. The total Central support for the project is estimated at Rs 500 crore and may go up to as much as Rs 2,000 crore.
The state governments concerned have submitted their proposals, which include not just projects such as sanitation and road construction, but also complexes and technological parks to make these projects viable.