In NEW DELHI: The government has yet to approve the plan and implement it, even more than two years after the Center announced the launch of an Rs 18,000 crore program to deploy 20,000 buses for cities to improve public transportation.
The housing and urban activities ministry said it recently sent the request for approval from the Cabinet after receiving the go-ahead from the finance ministry in December in response to concerns expressed by a parliamentary committee on the unnecessary delay in writing the plan.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the government will try to increase the proportion of public transportation in urban areas through the development of the Metro Rail network and improvement of city bus service while presenting the budget on February 1, 2021. She had stated, “The program would encourage deployment of novel PPP models to enable private sector actors to finance, buy, manage, and maintain approximately 20,000 buses,” while announcing this. The plan will help the car industry, spur economic expansion, give our kids job opportunities, and make it easier for city dwellers to get about.
Although successive administrations have announced plans to expand the number of buses for public transportation in an effort to deter people from acquiring private automobiles, the proportion of buses in India’s overall vehicle fleet has remained below 195 for years.
The housing and urban affairs ministry’s parliament committee had questioned the condition of the budget announcement after identifying its non-implementation. The ministry told the committee that the “final Cabinet Note” of the proposed plan was given to the finance ministry on May 17, 2022, for its approval and it has received the go-ahead, according to the panel’s report, which was delivered to both Houses of Parliament on Monday.
According to the ministry, the scheme’s most recent development is that “the Finance Minister approved the drafting cabinet note on December 5, 2022, and it was presented for the Cabinet’s review and approval.”
The standing committee expressed astonishment that despite the fact that it has been three financial years since the launch of this program, it is still in the approval stage and that no funding has been given for it in the budget for the financial year 2023–2024. Thus, the committee advises that when the Cabinet approves the plan, the required funding be requested from the finance ministry and that ministry officials be informed as soon as possible about the details set down for the plan’s operation.
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