Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a review of Smart Cities mission last week, had emphasised on early implementation of projects and suggested that the chief secretaries of all states should review the progress of the implementation. Narendra Modi has stepped in to ensure results can be seen on the ground with two years to go for 2019 parliamentary elections.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ vision has set an ambitious plan to build 100 smart cities across the country by 2030.
The Centre has asked states to focus on impactful and public private partnership based smart city projects, which would show results over the next one year and have a process of review in place. The Ministry of housing and urban affairs, the nodal ministry for Smart Cities Mission has identified 261 impactful ventures worth Rs 31,000 crore and public private partnership projects worth Rs 32,000 crore for the states to work on.
Smart Cities Mission is an urban renewal and retrofitting program by the Government of India with a mission to develop 100 cities all over the country making them citizen friendly and sustainable. The Union Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for implementing the mission in collaboration with the state governments of the respective cities.
Smart city mission envisions of developing an area within 100 cities in the country as model area based on an area development plan, which is expected have rub-off effect on other parts of the city and near by cities and towns. City will be selected based on the Smart cities challenge, in which cities will compete in a countrywide competition to get the benefits from this mission. As of Jun 2017, 90 cities have been selected for upgrade as part of smart city mission after they defeated other cities in the challenge.
Some of the major PPP smart city projects are Bhubaneswar: affordable housing Rs 840 crore, Raipur: Urban Plaza at Ganj Mandi Rs 983 crore, Bilaspur: Markets development Rs 1,241 crore, Amritsar: Urban space development Rs 1,028 crore, Coimbatore: Water supply Rs 557 crore.
It is five-year program, where all of the Indian states and Union territories are participating except West Bengal by nominating at-least one city for the smart city challenge. Financial aid will be given by the central and state government between 2017 – 2022 to the cities and mission starts showing results from 2022 on wards.
‘100 Smart Cities Mission’ was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 25, 2015.
First batch of 20 cities were selected known as ’20 Lighthouse Cities’ in the first round of All India City Challenge competition will be provided with central assistance of ₹200 crore each during this financial year followed by ₹100 crore per year during the next three years.
The remaining money has to come from the states, urban bodies and the consortium that they form with corporate entities. Also, 10 per cent of budget allocation will be given to states / union territories as incentive based on achievement of reforms during the previous year.
Urban Development Ministry had earlier released ₹2 crore each to mission cities for preparation of Smart City Plans.
The conceptualization of a Smart City differs from state to state and country to country, depending on the level of development, willingness to change and reform, resources and aspirations of the residents of the city.
The basic structure of smart cities is to include assured water and electricity supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, robust IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation, safety and security of citizens, efficient energy & green building, smart parking, and intelligent traffic management system.
States will play a key supportive role in the development of Smart Cities by providing smart leadership and vision in this level and ability to act decisively. Private players will have to participate in required sectors for effective implementation of project. Citizen participation in deploying smart solutions, implementing reforms, doing more with less and oversight during implementing and designing post-project structures will help in sustainable development.
Thus, the mission requires active participation of government bodies, private players and citizens for holistic movement.
The Smart City initiative isn’t about Union government pumping in extra resources for urban development. The critical element is about citizens planning and interpreting smartness. The Smart city proposals of the winning cities offer insights into how citizens, States and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) have interpreted this smartness differently. The way Bhubaneswar has looked at it is not quite the way Pune has looked at it. That is why this Mission is refreshingly different.
The Secretary housing and urban affairs, D S Mishra has written to chief secretaries of states and asked them to focus on early implementation of smart city projects that have a visible and transformative impact in the lives of citizens in identified smart cities.
Mishra has urged the states to ensure commencement of work by November this year on 261 impactful smart city projects in 60 cities that were announced between January and September 2016. These identified projects account for an investment of Rs 31,112 crore.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi government has taken a different approach compared to how schemes are executed previously. In earlier instances, central government will allocate money for development, but state governments will not work on the projects and money allocated will lapse. At the end of 5 years term, people used to ask where is the development.
In the new approach, where winner takes it all, beneficiaries have to compete and show their determination for change. Cities have to compete in state level with the cities within the state and then state level winner will compete in a national level Smart city challenge. Only cities which get highest mark in a particular round will be part of the mission. Even during implementation, if the a particular city municipality or mayor are not showing progress as committed in their city area development plan they may be replaced by another city or next cache of financial support will not be provided.
India’s economy is expanding rapidly and about 843 million people are expected to live in urban areas by 2050. During the same period, the country’s labour force is expected to grow by 270 million workers, with urban jobs accounting for 70% of that growth. To accommodate this massive urbanization, India needs to find smarter ways to manage complexities, reduce expenses, increase efficiency and improve the quality of life.