Aspirational Cities’ Program Enables Small Towns In UP To Join Quest For A One Trillion Dollar Economy
Lucknow, Sep 16 (TNA) Due to the sheer size and scale, Uttar Pradesh has one of the largest urban systems in the country. Through 762 urban local bodies, the state caters to the aspirations and development of about 6 crore citizens. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has set an ambitious target of achieving $1 trillion economy for the state in which cities are playing a pivotal role.
In order to harness the potential of smaller towns which historically have remained on the sidelines of urban planning parading, “Aspirational Cities Program” is being launched. Aspirational Cities Program addresses the needs of towns between the population of 20,000 and 1,00,000 as per Census 2011. The program aims to ensure holistic and sustainable development through competitive approaches by improving the municipal service delivery, economic opportunities & quality of life of all citizens.
The Aspirational Cities Program will be a journey from ‘aspirational’ to ‘inspirational’ towns. It aims to enhance the contribution of smaller towns in achieving the ambitious target of $1 trillion economy. The scheme adopts a 3C approach: Convergence, Collaboration and Competition. It aims to converge the on-going efforts of the Central and State Governments, Civil Society Organizations, CSR activities by corporate houses and also the multilateral & bi-lateral developmental agencies.
The journey from aspirational to inspirational will be charted by collaborative efforts of each of the stakeholder involved in the process while keeping citizens, especially the women at the center. The scheme aims to create a sense of competition amongst the urban local bodies for achieving the sustainable development goals.
A budget of ₹100 crore had been earmarked by the State Government for the Aspirational Cities Program in financial year 2022-23 to achieve transformational progress in the selected cities. The Program provides a unique opportunity to each of the cities to envision their disruptive future, optimize their economic potential and trace their own trajectory of sustainable development by formulating their own plans. In the said scheme, development projects shall be taken up by converging the on-going programs and projects of the Centrally & State sponsored schemes, MP/MLA Fund, and efforts of other institutions.
Out of the total 762 urban local bodies in the state, 100 aspirational urban bodies will be shortlisted by NITI Aayog, Government of India based on 16 pre-defined parameters. In the shortlisted 100 bodies, this scheme will remain in force till March 31, 2026, but their monitoring will be done through the dashboard till March 31, 2028.
The scheme is envisaged to be rotational in nature, providing a platform to different urban local bodies every two years. 100 professionals will be appointed in these 100 aspirational cities as Chief Minister Fellows. These fellows along with the urban local bodies will undertake intensive on-ground research and data collection for evidence based strategic plan development. These fellows will be the torchbearers of the scheme and will lead the implementation from the front.
At the State level, for ensuring smooth implementation there will be continuous monitoring and supervision of the scheme. Multiple performance-based incentives will be awarded to outstanding aspiration cities to develop a spirit of healthy cooperation and competition amongst them and also provide each city with the benchmark to perform better, principal secretary urban development Amrit Abhijat informed.
The said scheme will directly benefit the urban citizens of Uttar Pradesh through targeted focus in the areas of basic urban governance & infrastructure, education, health, socioeconomic development and generate economic opportunities with a special focus on women entrepreneurs of Uttar Pradesh.