KOLKATA, Feb 14 (IANS): The Centre will increase fund allocation for States to promote the Clean India campaign and will rate city municipalities in the process, Union Minister of Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs, M Venkaiah Naidu said here today.
�The government is committed to implement a gradation of all the municipalities of the country in a bid to motivate them towards achieving the goal of development,� he said in a statement.
He pointed out that 80 percent of the municipality fund is spent on salaries which need to be streamlined to put development atop the agenda for the civic bodies.
Swachch Bharat, India�s largest ever cleanliness drive, was initiated by the Central Government October 2 last year across 4,041 towns and semi-urban areas in India.
Terming the execution of the ambitious 100 Smart Cities project as a challenge, Naidu said it will help �usher in a new age of development as development is the agenda of the government now�.
Referring to the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Naidu said the goal of his ministry is to �make urban life more comfortable� and there will be a major thrust on reforms to improve the process of urban governance.
�Fifty percent of the total population of our country lives in urban areas now and the rate will go up to 84 percent by 2050. So, we need to gear up urban infrastructure, including housing.�
The former BJP national president said there was a need for taking up the agenda of housing for the economically weaker sections of society.
The Nellore-born minister said political parties need to put their ideological differences aside and aim for the development of the nation.