J&K unveils key initiatives for development of towns

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 4: In a significant move, the Jammu & Kashmir Government has rolled out key initiatives for development of towns in the Union Territory.
According to an order, the Housing & Urban Development Department has approved the roll-out of “aspirational towns development programme”, adoption of assessment framework for municipalities and unveiling of 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.
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 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,” read the order.
The DCs have also been directed to appoint a Nodal Officer for implementation of the programme.
As per the guidelines, the Prabhari for each town shall be 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 (URIF) initiative.