Smart Cities Mission

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As per the Census 2011, the cities of India can accommodate nearly 31% of the Indian population and contribute to 63% of GDP. Hence a comprehensive development of physical, economic, institutional, and social infrastructure is inevitable. Such comprehensive growth will attract investors to the country and simultaneously improve the quality of life. 

The Government of India introduced the Smart Cities Mission initiative to drive economic progress and boost the quality of life by fuelling local development and harnessing technology to create smart results for the citizens. Smart Cities Mission was launched on 25th June 2015, with the objective to create spaces that have the basic infrastructure, are sustainable, and provide smart solutions to the citizens for a better quality of life.

Strategy of the Smart Cities Mission

  • Application of one smart solution citywide.
  • Three models of area-based development, which are:
    • Retrofitting 
    • Redevelopment
    • Greenfield

Smart City Under the Smart Cities Mission

The strategy of Smart Cities is to focus on pressing needs and on the potential to improve the quality of life. Different approaches are tested, including digital and information technologies, best practices for urban planning, public-private partnerships, and policy change to make a difference.

The focus of Smart Cities is always people, and hence the objective is to promote the cities that can provide:

  • Good infrastructure.
  • A clean environment.
  • Application of smart solutions.
  • A better quality of life for the citizens.

The idea of the Smart Cities Mission is to create cities with inclusive development of compact areas that can serve as role models for the creation of similar spaces. The mission of Smart Cities is to create a space that triggers a change that can be inculcated in various spaces across the country.

Core Infrastructure Elements of a Smart City

The basic infrastructure elements of a Smart City are:

  • Sufficient water supply.
  • Electricity supply.
  • Sanitation, including solid waste management.
  • Good transport facilities.
  • Economic housing facilities.
  • Robust IT connectivity and digitalization.
  • Better governance, especially e-governance and citizen participation.
  • Sustainable environment.
  • Safe and secure city, especially for women and children.
  • Education and health.

The mission has a coverage of 100 cities and the duration of the project for five years, i.e.FY 2015-16 to FY 2019-20. The total number of Smart Cities has been allocated among the States and UT’s on the basis of the eligibility criteria.

The formula for allocation of the smart cities gives equal weightage to the urban population in State and UT and the number of Statutory towns in the State and UT. The allocation will be reviewed after two years of the implementation of the Mission.

The financing of the Smart Cities will be operated as Centrally Sponsored Schemes. An equal amount on a matching basis will be contributed by the State/UTs.

Implementation of the Smart Cities Mission

  • The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) used a competition-based model to select the cities eligible for funding based on the area-based development. There were state-level and national-level competitions; the cities with the highest scores in a particular round were selected to be a part of the mission.
  • The selection process was done in two stages.
  • In Round 1, 20 smart cities were selected in January 2016, and in May 2016, 13 more cities were selected in a fast track round.
  • In Round 2, 27 smart cities were selected from 63 potential cities in September 2016.
  • In Round 3, 30 smart cities were selected from 45 potential cities in June 2017.
  • In Round 4, 10 smart cities were selected from 15 potential cities in January 2018.
  • The implementation is done on the basis of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to be set up as a Limited Company under the Companies Act,2013. The smart cities have to set up SPVs and start implementation of the Smart City proposal, preparation of detailed reports, tenders, etc.
  • The SPVs will convert the proposal into projects through the Project Management Consultants (PMC) and implement the same.
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