India’s Smart Cities Mission
The Smart Cities Mission (SCM) was launched in June 25, 2015, seek to improve the quality of life in 100 cities and towns of India. The major objective is of providing core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environment and give a decent quality of life to their citizens through the application of ‘smart solutions’.
The pressure of increasing population, poor infrastructure, need of better environment is huge and these cities are facing problems like clean air, mobility, sanitation, water, public safety, etc. To tackle these needs Smart Cities Mission was launched to improve the quality of life of citizens, integrate city functions, and utilize scarce resources more efficiently.
The Mission aims “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,” and ensure that these cities are “liveable, inclusive, sustainable, and have thriving economies that offer multiple opportunities to people to pursue their diverse interests.”
There are, largely, two kinds of factors, which attract people into cities – ‘push factors’, led by distress or scarcity in their place of origin – like droughts, violence, social rifts etc. and ‘pull factors’, like better opportunities for education, business and industry, leisure, art and culture etc. Cities are confluences of people; places where people live, come to meet, exchange ideas, earn livelihoods, access education, health and other services and enjoy a life of good quality. Cities that work for their people will continuously become better versions of themselves with each passing day.
The Smart Cities Mission
- Adequate water supply
- Assured (green) 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
The total number of 100 Smart Cities have been distributed among the States and UTs on the basis of an equitable criteria. Selection process began with a two stage competition was organized, first among cities in each state, and subsequently for the winners in each round, at the national level. In 2016 the winners of first round of Smart city competition was won by Bhubaneswar, Pune, Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Jabalpur, Visakhapatnam, Solapur, Davanagere, Indore, New Delhi Municipal Council, Coimbatore, Kakinada, Belagavi, Udaipur, Guwahati, Chennai, Ludhiana and Bhopal. Meghalaya’s capital, Shillong, was included as the 100th city in June 2018.
In 2015 the government announced the project for developing 100 cities as smart cities till 2021, but due to pandemic there has been delay and the mission is extended to June 2023. The Ministry of Urban Development has identified 24 key areas that cities must address in their ‘smart cities’ plan. Out of these 24 key areas, three are directly related to water, and seven are indirectly related to it – Smart-meter management, leakage identification, preventive maintenance, and water quality modeling.
To make most of this Smart Cities Mission we need a comprehensive urbanization strategy, taking advantage of the latest developments in technology, creating employment opportunities, and supporting economic activities that will improve quality of life for citizens. By focusing on improved mobility and access, good urban design, equitable land management, and accessing the required financing, India’s cities can grow efficiently, sustainably, and inclusively, transforming urban life across the country.
The Smart City Mission will be operated as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) and the Central Government proposes to give financial support to the Mission to the extent of Rs. 48,000 crores over five years., 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 Rupees one lakh crore of Government/ULB funds will be available for Smart Cities development.
There is no standard definition or template of a smart city. In the context of our country, the six fundamental principles on which the concept of Smart Cities is based are:
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