Government of Jammu and Kashmir

SRINAGAR — In a significant move, the Jammu & Kashmir Government has rolled out key initiatives for the development of towns in the Union Territory.

According to an order, a copy of which is in possession of the news agency KNO, the Housing & Urban Development Department has approved the roll-out of the “Aspirational Towns Development Programme”, adoption of an assessment framework for municipalities and the unveiling of an urban reform incentive fund.

As per the order, the “aspirational towns development programme” will be rolled-out across all municipalities of Jammu and Kashmir.

The adoption of an assessment framework — The Jammu & Kashmir Municipal Development Index-2022 — will help in rating, assessing and analyzing the performance and level of development of various municipalities/towns of the UT.

The urban reform incentive fund is meant for providing reform-linked assistance to the ULBs of the UT based on the performance as per the benchmarks prescribed under The Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Development Index-2022.

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To roll out the “Aspirational Towns Development Programme”, the Planning Development and Monitoring Department will set up/ engage a project monitoring unit (PMU) and the Information Technology Department will create a dashboard for monitoring the progress of aspirational towns as per “The Jammu & Kashmir Municipal Development Index-2022.”

As per guidelines governing the schemes, the District Development Commissioners, in coordination with the concerned head of departments (HODs) shall prepare aspirational towns development plans in convergence with other schemes for the speedy development of the aspirational towns. “The resources shall be clearly delineated across various sectors of development at the district level for funding of aspirational development town plan,” reads the order.

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The DCs have also been directed to appoint a nodal officer for the implementation of the programme. As per the guidelines, the Prabhari for each town shall be the mentor of that town and shall be the supervisory officer for the success of the initiative in that town.

According to the order, the best-performing municipalities will be encouraged and incentivized through additional grant-in-aid in the form of an urban reform incentive fund (URIF) based on their performance as per the benchmarks prescribed under the JKMDI-2022. Besides this, special funds will also be provided for building capacities and covering gaps in these municipalities.

According to the order, additional financial assistance of Rs 200 crore shall be made available through Housing & Urban Development Department for the urban reform incentive fund initiative.

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