According to Venkaiah Naidu, providing basic infrastructure is the main challenge and the government's focus should be on drinking water, sanitation, solid waste management, affordable housing, slum redevelopment and a good public transport
Promising the wholehearted support of the Indian government to develop Mumbai as a Global Financial Hub, Venkaiah Naidu, the union Urban Development Minister, Friday asked the Devendra Fadnavis Government to focus on 'Basics First'.
Speaking at the valedictory function of the Mumbai Next Summit, Naidu said, "Urbanisation is a reality. We have the main challenge of providing basic infrastructure for the people in urban areas. The focus should be on drinking water, sanitation, solid waste management, affordable housing, slum redevelopment and a good public transport."
He said the Ministry of Urban Development will extend all support to the Government of Maharashtra in all the areas listed above.
The Minister said public transport needs to be strengthened on priority. "More cars on the streets may be a symbol of prosperity, but it creates great congestion."
He said Mumbai had many firsts to its credit including the first bus service and the first suburban train service, but observed that today its local train service was under great strain. "The city has only 11kms of Metro corridor, as compared to 120kms in Delhi, where another 150kms are being added," said Naidu.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave details of reform measures initiated by his government and stressed on making Maharashtra an easier destination to do business. He said the coastal road project and the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link would be completed over the next two-three years.
The Urban Development Minister stressed on simplification of approvals and said there should be no 'man-to-man contact' as it tends to breed corruption. "All the processes should be made online and third party inspection should be mandatory," he said.
However, the Minister added that overnight miracles cannot be expected as India was a democracy and everyone had to be taken along "It is a step by step process" he said.
Naidu asserted that the investment climate in the country had improved for the businessmen and inflation had come down bringing cheer to the common man. Defending his government's resolve of creating a pro-business environment in the country, Naidu said "some people call us 'pro-business'. What is wrong in being pro-business? It is the businessmen who create wealth in the country, and if no wealth is created, what will you distribute under welfare programmes?"
The Minister called for greater participation of private sector in infrastructure development programme of the country. He said public-private partnership - PPP is the only sustainable model to go ahead.
Earlier, Union Minister of State for Finance, Jayant Sinha said financial services, being high value sector can be a leader in wealth creation. He said, since Mumbai accounted for 50-60% of market capitalization it was best suited to become the Global Financial Hub. "There are certain regulatory and taxation issues which need to be addressed and there is no reason to doubt why BKC cannot become the next Canary Wharf," he added.