On November 28, 2012, the Comptroller and Auditor General submitted its report on the implementation of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).  According to the report most of the projects initiated under JNNURM have not been completed.  For instance with respect to urban infrastructure projects, only 231 projects out of the 1298 sanctioned projects have been completed.  Similarly, with respect to housing projects, only 22 of the 1517 projects have been completed.  Some of the other key recommendations of the report are:

  •  Some of the reasons for the delay in completing the projects include: (i) delay in acquiring land; (ii) deficiency in preparation of projects; and (iii) non-identification of beneficiaries which increased the risk of ineligible beneficiaries getting the benefits.
  •  A total allocation of Rs 66,084 crore had been made by the Planning Commission.  However, against this total allocation, the central government had made an allocation of only Rs 37,070 out of which until March 30, 2011 only Rs 32,934 had been released.
  • There was a delay in releasing these funds to the states.  A large portion of the funds was released only in the last quarter and more particularly in March.
  • The JNNURM guidelines were deficient as they did not provide adequate guidance to the states on the method of parking the funds and utilization of interest.

The need and objectives of JNNURM According to the 2011 census India’s urban population has increased from 286 million in 2001 to 377 million in 2011 .  With the increase in urban population, there is a requirement to improve the urban infrastructure and improve the service delivery mechanisms.  With these specific objectives in mind, the central government launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission 2005-2006.  The aim of the Mission is to encourage reforms and fast track planned development of identified cities (such as cities with a population of more than 1 million as per the 2001 census).  JNNURM has two main components namely : (i) Urban Infrastructure and Governance  and (ii) Urban Infrastructure Development for Small and Medium Towns. The duration of JNNURM was from 2005-06 to 2011-12. However, as the projects have not been completed the Government has extended its duration until March 2014. Funds for JNNURM The funds for JNNURM are provided through the Additional Central Assistance.  This implies that the funds are provided as grants to the states directly from the centre.   In the 2012 Union Budget, the central government has allocated Rs 12,522 crore for JNNURM. This represents around 10 % of the total central assistance through the different schemes to states and union territories in 2012-13. As on June 30 2012, 554 projects at a total cost of Rs 62,253 crore have been sanctioned under the Urban Infrastructure and Governance sub-mission of JNNURM.   The table below shows the status of the sanctioned JNNURM  projects in the different states. State wise status of the projects under JNNURM                 (as on August 6, 2012)

Name of State Total Allocation (Rs Lakh) Number of sanctioned projects Completed Projects
Andhra Pradesh 2,11,845 52 18
Arunachal Pradesh 10,740 3 NA
Assam 27,320 2 NA
Bihar 59,241 8 NA
Chandigarh 27,087 3 NA
Chattisgarh 24,803 1 NA
Delhi 2,82,318 23 4
Goa 12,094 2 NA
Gujarat 2,57,881 72 40
Haryana 32,332 4 NA
Himachal Pradesh 13,066 5 NA
Jammu & Kashmir 48,836 5 NA
Jharkhand 94,120 5 NA
Karnataka 1,52,459 47 22
Kerala 67,476 11 NA
Madhya Pradesh 1,32,850 23 7
Maharashtra 5,50,555 80 21
Manipur 15,287 3 NA
Meghalaya 15,668 2 NA
Mizoram 14,822 4 NA
Nagaland 11,628 3 NA
Orissa 32,235 5 NA
Punjab 70,775 6 1
Puducherry 20,680 2 NA
Rajasthan 74,869 13 2
Sikkim 10,613 2 NA
Tamil Nadu 2,25,066 48 12
Tripura 14,018 2 NA
Uttar Pradesh 2,76,941 33 4
Uttarakhand 40,534 14 NA
West Bengal 3,21,840 69 15

Source: Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission; PRS.

  • Gujarat at 55.55% has the highest number of completed projects, while Uttar Pradesh at 12.24% has the lowest number of completed projects.
  • Out of the larger states, Delhi and Maharashtra at 17% and 26% have a comparatively low rate of completed projects.
  • Maharashtra has the highest number of sanctioned projects, while the North Eastern states, Chattisgarh and Puducherry have the lowest number of sanctioned projects.

Mr. Vaghul, our first Chairperson, passed away on Saturday.  I write this note to express my deep gratitude to him, and to celebrate his life.  And what a life he lived!

Mr. Vaghul and I at his residence








Our past and present Chairpersons,
Mr. Vaghul and Mr. Ramadorai

Industry stalwarts have spoken about his contributions to the financial sector, his mentorship of people and institutions across finance, industry and non-profits.  I don’t want to repeat that (though I was a beneficiary as a young professional starting my career at ICICI Securities).  I want to note here some of the ways he helped shape PRS.

Mr Vaghul was our first chairman, from 2012 to 2018.  When he joined the board, we were in deep financial crisis.  Our FCRA application had been turned down (I still don’t know the reason), and we were trying to survive on monthly fund raise.  Mr Vaghul advised us to raise funds from domestic philanthropists.  “PRS works to make Indian democracy more effective.  We should not rely on foreigners to do this.”.  He was sure that Indian philanthropists would fund us.  “We’ll try our best.  But if it doesn’t work, we may shut down.  Are you okay with that?”  Of course, with him calling up people, we survived the crisis.

He also suggested that we should have an independent board without any representation from funders.  The output should be completely independent of funders’ interest given that we were working in the policy space.  We have stuck to this advice.

Even when he was 80, he could read faster than anyone and remember everything.  I once said something in a board meeting which had been written in the note sent earlier.  “We have all read the note.  Let us discuss the implications.”  And he could think three steps ahead of everyone else.

He had a light touch as a chairman.  When I asked for management advice, he would ask me to solve the problem on my own.  He saw his role as guiding the larger strategy, help raise funds and ensure that the organisation had a strong value system.  Indeed, he was the original Karmayogi – I have an email from him which says, “Continue with the good work.  We should neither be euphoric with appreciation or distracted by criticism.” And another, "Those who adhere to the truth need not be afraid of the consequences".

The best part about board meetings was the chat afterwards.  He would have us in splits with stories from his experience.  Some of these are in his memoirs, but we heard a few juicier ones too!

Even after he retired from our Board, he was always available to meet.  I just needed to message him whenever I was in Madras, and he would ask me to come home.  And Mrs. Vaghul was a welcoming host.  Filter coffee, great advice, juicy stories, what more could one ask for?

Goodbye Mr. Vaghul.  Your life lives on through the institutions you nurtured.  And hope that we live up to your standards.