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Aug 12, 2008

Orientation Programme For Councillors

Administrative reforms under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission being explained to Coimbatore Corporation councillors in the city on Monday. Councillors of the Coimbatore Corporation were on Monday provided with an insight into urbanisation trends and administrative, structural and financial reforms in urban local bodies during an orientation programme held as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

The mission is an infrastructure development programme of the Union Ministry of Urban Development for 63 cities, including Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. It will provide Central Government grant of 50 per cent and State Government grant of 20 per cent of the project cost.

The mission stresses good financial management by the urban local bodies chosen for infrastructure development. In this context, reforms required at various levels of the Coimbatore Corporation were explained to the councillors at the orientation programme. A similar one would be held for officials on Tuesday. The Rapid Training Programme for Municipal Functionaries provided an overview of the investment requirements for over a seven-year period. It said the urban local bodies would require a total investment of Rs.1.20 lakh crore.

This included an annual funding requirement of Rs.17,219 crore. One of the points made was that infrastructure in urban local bodies were either neglected or victims of poor operation and maintenance. Not much effort had been made to manage these assets or achieve self-sustainability. It was, therefore, necessary that a link be established between asset creation and management. Both were vital to ensuring sustained service delivery. Only a set of reforms could bring about this change.

One of the objectives of the reforms was to provide an integrated governance framework with transparency, clear lines of authority and accountability. Mayor R. Venkatachalam, Deputy Mayor N. Karthik and senior officials of the Corporation were present during the programme. Presentations were made on various aspects of governance in local bodies. L. Ravikumar of Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Limited, made one on “Financial Management in Urban Local Bodies”.

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