Workshop report: “Evaluating the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and preparing for the future”, organised by Transparent Chennai on 2 December 2012 at Chennai

Transparent Chennai had organised a workshop on “Evaluating the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and preparing for the future” on December 2, 2012 at Dakshinamurthy Auditorium in PS Higher Secondary School, Mylapore, Chennai.

The workshop was organised to:

  • understandand evaluate the impact of the first phase of the JNNURM in Chennai, with a focus on the urban poor
  • learn about the planned JNNURM II and the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY)
  • share strategies for how these new programs can be implemented in a more inclusive manner

JNNURM is a massive modernisation programme started by the central government in 2005 that aims to bring fast track development in selected cities. RAY scheme is a Central project aimed at promoting slum-free urbanisation in the country. It intends to provide support for basic services, slum redevelopment, and new construction to states that are willing to assign property rights to slum dwellers.

Transforming cities-Ambition of the JNNURM scheme

Transforming cities- Ambition of the JNNURM scheme (Source: Water and Megacities)

About 200 participants attended this workshop, which included local researchers, students, members of the Unorganised Workers’ Federation, Penn Thozhilalar Sangam, Jai Ambedkar Welfare Society and the Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective, among other organisations. Experts from Hazards Centre, Delhi, representatives of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board and academicians from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai.

The workshop started with a brief introduction on JNNURM and RAY schemes, given by the Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development via video conference. He stressed on the need for active participation of people in formulation and implementation of the schemes. He also emphasised on the need for optimal utilisation of water through metering the water connection, recycling water and solid wastes generated at household level. Further he also stated that there is a need for public private partnership in any developmental activities of the city.

Following this the researchers at Transparent Chennai gave a brief overview of their research, after which many slum dwellers shared their experiences with the schemes and the lack of basic services. The views expressed by them gave a negative picture of the way in which schemes have been implemented.

Hard facts about JNNURM scheme

Hard facts that sheds light on the performance of the scheme (Source: India Today)

Majority of the slum dwellers lead a hard life, with no proper housing facility, no water connection and no seweage lines. Coupled to this is mounting solid waste management problem.

Substandard housing facilities of slums in Chennai with no drainage system

Substandard housing facilities of slums in Chennai with no drainage system (Source: OMR, Chennai, Real Estate)

The director of Transparent Chennai, Nithya V Raman says that though the first phase of the schemes comes to an end in 2013, the studies by government show that several projects are yet to be completed and money has been over spent.

 Statistical information of the JNNURM scheme in Tamil Nadu

Statistical information of the JNNURM scheme in Tamil Nadu (Source: The Hindu)

People have the right to know the manner in which government funds are utilized. Enormous amount of financial and human resources are spent right from the design stage to the implementation of government  schemes such as the JNNURM and RAY. There is a need to make sure that funds are put to use in right manner and in right place. Failures and constraints of the past need to be kept in mind before embarking on expansion drives to ensure that the money invested in such schemes is well spent. 

The workshop provided oppurtunity to people from different walks of life to express and share their experiences about government schemes. Most importantly it gave a plattform to community people who could share the same table with the people working on these issues and voice out their demands and needs.

Click below to download the FAQ on JNNURM and RAY schemes.