Thanx for the write up. This is definitely a subject we as a nation should pay more attention too. Unfortunately things like the latest scandal or some Bollywood rear end or the latest election cycle dominate our society to our endless discredit. There is no discussion, no pressure groups, no organized citizen groups that press for these projects. Instead there is random mouth shooting off about how this silver bullet or that magical thinking will solve our problems dominates our society. Sorry just venting a bit due to the frustrations of Chennai drainage. What a shambles….
I want to respond in sections.
The JNNURM has been replaced if I understand correctly by the AMRUT scheme. Its annual funding though has been cut to RS 10,000 crore PA which also includes the smart city funding as I understand with majority going to the smart city, which essentially guarantees existing cities get very little. It is not stand alone like JNNURM. Other than a few fools like me who follow this, it is never mentioned in places like BRF. This is most unfortunate. Not just that, the list of covered cites has been expanded way out of proportions and the per project limit shrunk to Rs 10 crore, though this is a thumb rule and not a hard rule. So no funding for things like desalination or ring roads. The entire team assembled to review and implement JNNURM has been de-funded and disbanded. So AMRUT is essentially back to square one. AFAIK not a single rupee has been allocated for any projects so far. You can imagine if allocation comes next year and projects starts in 2017 you may be lucky to see anything by 2020.
Why these needless interruptions and changing rules unnecessarily that bog down the nation in bureaucracy. For once can we recognize a program is working and stick with it.... ...and increase funding not cut it by 80%+-...
The idea of SG sloth. I have met the TN govt. officers sir and if they tell a media reporter that the DPR has been created and sent to GOI for clearance, I believe them. They do not take their word lightly. You can see they are trying not to make this a political thing, they just want it cleared and are trying to send a hint. I saw the similar write up in Malar from a few days ago. Trust me if AMMA wants to make this an issue it would be an issue. If anything that is JJ's real problem right now. Her personal scandals have made her take her eye off the ball so the officers are forced to issue these notes.
Bottom line is that the peripheral ring road has not been approved and work has not started. Same with the Metro extension and the desalination plant.
WRT JNNURM funding it was not always 80% GOI. Most times it was 30% or less esp. for the UIG program. In fact I know of no projects in Chennai that attracted more than a 30% GOI participation rate. Many projects had 10% participation IIRC. You can see the allocations by state and total project cost in link attached. http://jnnurm.nic.in/wp-content/uploads ... etails.pdf
What even 10% GOI participation allowed is to make projects that were marginal, financially viable. When DPR's are produced, infrastructure projects too often have a ROI of 5% or less. So obviously they go on the back burner. Unfortunately just the way government in India works, as I know from firsthand experience in service. So institutionally there is a deep bias towards ignoring infrastructure, esp. urban infrastructure. JNNURM changed all that by suddenly making these projects rise to 10% ROI, which broke lose a whole slew of local projects. As you can imagine an interruption would not just mean 10% reduction in spending it meant a 100% reduction as just about all projects ended up un-viable with 'REJECTED' stamped on it. BTW I still get nightmares from the red 'REJECTED' stamp on my proposal reports. I once got a 'REJECTED' for a hospital in an area where 30 kids were dying PM. The costs did not justify the expense some how.
With the miserly allocation for AMRUT, this means the there will never be enough money to support projects like desalination. So SG is now at a loose end and desperately seeking German funding which will then have to be approved by GOI yet again.
What ever else you may say about PC, it was his allocation that built Minjur and Nemmili, to his eternal credit. The fact that such nationally important projects have to be shoved down the throat of the bureaucracy in Delhi in a marginally nepotistic manner says all you need to know about GOI babucrats....
BTW couple of details WRT desalination which was not the original topic but still fascinating.
The Minjur plant was technically a technology demonstrator. In March 2014 the State Govt. was pre-occupied with commissioning the Nemmeli plant which was not going well as I recall due the quality of intake water and some damage from a cyclone and rough seas. Also IVRCL was having money issues at Minjur, which was also struggling and the SG had to negotiate a sale and a new promoter. There is no chance that any well run government will risk starting 4 plants of new technology right off the bat, esp. in such a situation. TN has done the correct thing here by steadily adding to the projects one at a time and focusing on making sure the project they do have are running.
The real problem as the article identifies is that the funding pattern for such nationally critical infrastructure, namely desalination, has changed. As you can imagine this prevents the benefits of repetitive efficiency as everyone is back to square one. This is clearly cause of the delay for the third unit which is not finalized to this date, which means, allowing for a 5 year schedule, 2021 at earliest.
Finally, I think this entire thing of GOI approving every JICA loans has far exceeded its sell by date. TN SG should be allowed to generate a revenue stream to pay JICA loan with money it generates as a state. This is reform that is sorely needed to reduce paralyzing bureaucracy and release the states from the hobbling control of delhi.... ...delhi should do no more than an accounting exercise to plug the numbers into an state escrow account... 1 day exercise, tops...