Smart Cities Competition: The Smart India Movement

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Saurav Thakur, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

The Smart Cities Mission is an innovative and new initiative by the Government of India to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens. Smart Cities focus on their most pressing needs and on the greatest opportunities to improve lives. They tap a range of approaches – digital and information technologies, urban planning best practices, public-private partnerships, and policy change – to make a difference. They always put people first.

In the approach to the Smart Cities Mission, the objective is to promote 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, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities. The Smart Cities Mission is meant to set examples that can be replicated both within and outside the Smart City, catalysing the creation of similar Smart Cities in various regions and parts of the country.

Cities to be part of the Narendra Modi government’s ambitious smart city project will be picked by a competition. And the criteria would be how well they have implemented some of the Prime Minister’s campaigns ‘including the Swacch Bharat and Make in India’. This policy of smart city was announced 31st of march this year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to build 100 smart cities across the country has indicated that the other parameters could be infrastructure, quality of life, and citizen-centric services. This project is meant to be public Public-Private Partnership, for which the Union government expects collaboration from US, France, Singapore and Japan. The cost of this project would be around 7060 crore.

The smart cities project was necessitated by the country’s burgeoning population, which is expected to become more than double by 2050 – from the current 377 million to 843 million.
According to the secretary of the Urban Development Ministry, Shankar Aggarwal to accommodate this massive urbanisation, India needs to find ways to improve the quality of life of citizens.

On 27th August government announced the names of 98 towns and cities chosen for its Smart Cities project after a nationwide “competition” between states. Of those chosen for the project, 24 are capital cities, 24 are business hubs and 18 are cultural centres. Cities like Patna, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram and Shimla have failed to make the cut in round one.

The winners include Lucknow ,Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Baroda in Gujarat, Greater Mumbai, Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai in Tamil Nadu, and Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur in Bihar.Uttar Pradesh gets the maximum number of cities with Kanpur, Allahabad, Rampur, Agra and Aligarh also being selected. Navi Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Thane also make the cut from Maharashtra.North-eastern towns and cities like Guwahati, Kohima, Imphal, Aizawl, Shillong, and Agartala have also been chosen.

The judgment Proposals from state was based on service levels, existing infrastructure and track record of each state to determine how realistic its execution is. The top winning cities will be financed this year and the rest of the cities will be asked to get their act together, focus on deficiencies and prepare for Round 2 of the competition. In the next five years, Rs. 3 lakh crore will be spent in developing the towns to provide world class infrastructure, sustainable environment and smart solutions

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