Posted in Indian Economy

Smart Cities

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Smart Cities

The GoI has launched the Smart Cities Mission with the collaboration of states and UTs for urban development. The purpose of the mission is – to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local area development and harnessing technology, especially technology that leads to smart outcomes.

The Mission targets promoting cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘smart’ solutions. The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas and create a replicable model which will act as a lighthouse to other aspiring cities. The smart city includes the following core infrastructure development:

  • adequate water supply;
  • assured electricity supply;
  • sanitation, including solid waste management;
  • efficient urban mobility and public transport;
  • affordable housing, especially for the poor;
  • robust IT connectivity and digitalization;
  • good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation;
  • sustainable environment;
  • safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly; and
  • health and education.

Strategy: The strategic components of area-based development in the mission are:

  • city improvement (retrofitting);
  • city renewal (redevelopment);
  • city extension (greenfield development); and
  • a pan-city initiative in which smart solutions are applied.

Retrofitting will introduce planning in an existing built-up area to achieve smart city objectives, along with other objectives, to make the existing area more efficient and liveable. In retrofitting, an area consisting of more than 500 acres will be identified by the city in consultation with citizens. The redevelopment will effect a replacement of the existing built-up environment and enable co-creation of a new layout with enhanced infrastructure using mixed land use and increased density. Redevelopment envisages an area of more than 50 acres, identified by urban local bodies (ULBs) in consultation with citizens.

Greenfield development will introduce most of the smart solutions in a previously vacant area (more than 250 acres) using innovative planning, plan to finance and plan implementation tools (e.g. land pooling/ land reconstitution) with the provision for affordable housing, especially for the poor. Greenfield development is required around cities in order to address the needs of the expanding population.

Finance: The Mission will cover 100 cities which have been distributed among the states and UTs on the basis of equitable criteria. The distribution of smart cities will be reviewed after two years of the implementation of the mission.

The Smart City Mission will be operated as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) and the central government proposes to give it financial support to the extent of Rs. 48,000 crore over five years, i.e. on an average Rs. 100 crore per city per year. An equal amount, on a matching basis, will have to be contributed by the state/ULB; therefore, nearly one lakh crore of government/ULB funds will be available for smart cities development. In the first phase of implementation, twenty cities have been shortlisted to roll out the programme.

The migration from the rural areas to the cities is increasing with a higher pace. A neo-middle class is emerging which has aspirations of better living standards. With all these challenges to the successful implementation of the mission, the centre of attention is the citizen. In other words, a smart city will work towards ensuring the best for all people, regardless of social status, age, income levels and gender, only when citizens will actively participate in governance and reforms. Smart Cities Mission requires the involvement of smart people in the process of making decisions on deploying smart solutions, implementing reforms, doing more with less, maintaining oversight during implementation and designing post-project structures in order to make the smart city developments sustainable.

Other Urban Infrastructure: With increasing urbanization, opportunities, as well as challenges related to urban infrastructure, are also increasing. In this context, up to early 2016, the government has taken various new initiatives to improve urban infrastructure:

SBM (Swachh Bharat Mission) aims at making India free from open defecation and at achieving 100 percent scientific management of municipal solid waste in 4041 statutory towns/cities in the country. The targets set for the mission which have to be achieved by 2 October 2019.

HRIDAY (National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana) aims at preserving and revitalizing the soul and unique character of heritage cities in India. In the first phase, it contains 12 cities – Ajmer, Amaravati, Amritsar, Badami, Dwarka, Mathura, Puri, Varanasi, Velankanni, Kanchipuram, Gaya, and Warangal.

AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) aims at improving basic urban infrastructure in 500 cities/towns which will be known as mission cities/towns. This is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) funded by GoI, States and the local bodies.

A number of other initiatives in the existing scheme of the policy framework have also been taken – public transport through Bus Rapid Transit Systems (BRTS) approved for 11 cities under the JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission); Buses and Metro Rail Projects to be equipped with ITS (Intelligent Transport System).

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