Hyderabad: With the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs deciding to stop grants from next year, the Regional Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies (RCUES) located on the Osmania University campus has chalked-out elaborate plans to become self-reliant.
As part of cost-cutting measures, the Ministry had decided to stop grants and recently written a letter to RCUES over ending financial assistance from April 2020. It also wanted the centre to run on a self-sustenance basis. “RCUES will not be closed after grants are stopped. We will continue to work in the areas like urban planning and score cards for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs),” a senior official said.
RCUES was established in 1968 and since then it was being sponsored by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. It was set up to serve States as policy adviser, provide solution, play an effective role in government schemes and projects besides conducting capacity building programmes for urban functionaries and engineers.
The centre covers Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry. It has conducted capacity building programmes on solid waste management besides holding recruitment and monitoring for 127 ULBs in Andhra Pradesh.
According to sources, RCUES is developing a matrix model to evaluate the productivity of urban bus transit in Telangana. It is also developing an urban dialog model to index poverty and health aspects of urban poor while it has developed urban governance score card to evaluate sectoral performance of the ULBs in the State.
Soon, a team from RCUES will look into aspects of water quality and treatment, coverage of water supply, percentage of open drains and underground drains, percentage of open defecation, human resources and workload in the absence of regular officers, percentage recovery of property tax, community services like parks and playgrounds, website, digital initiatives and e-procurement among others in the ULBs. Based on these parameters, the ULBs will be given performance cards. This apart, the centre will also make suggestions on ways to improve facilities and scores.
According to sources, the centre has set a target to work with seven States under the Integrated Capacity Building Framework (ICBF) and train more than 3,500 participants. It is also focusing on consulting projects and international collaboration during 2019-20.
“Apart from capacity building programmes and studies, the centre had conducted State-level OMR computer-based test to recruit 750 staff for the municipal administration department in Andhra Pradesh. This recruitment process has helped in generating some revenue,” sources said.