The cities are the centres of large scale economic activities and promise bucketful of employment. The rural folks in India migrate to the cities mainly for employment sake and improve upon their standard of living. Earlier the metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata used to attract rural population. But now with the overall development going in high gear, the shift has started towards Tier-II and Tier-III cities as well. Due to the constant influx of the rural population in the cities, the urban population and problems are on the rise. Sandeep Sharma takes a look at the Smart Cities mission which is being implemented by the Government of India across 100 cities.
With the rapid urbanisation, the opportunities are growing leaps and bounds. Due to urbanisation, the need for mass housing, roads, healthcare, water supply, and transport infrastructure is rising which requires the immediate attention of all the stakeholders. The perils of urbanisation lie in the deteriorating quality of living owing to housing issues, water supply and sanitation problems, traffic congestion due to too many vehicles and limited road infrastructure, law and order problems, pollution issues, and many more. Smart Cities Mission launched by the Government of India is the solution to all these problems faced by Urban Centres of the country.
SMART CITIES MISSION
The Smart City Mission (SCM) was launched on June 25, 2015, which aimed to develop 100 cities across the country, making them citizen-friendly and sustainable. The total proposed investment in the selected cities under the scheme is more than Rs 2 lakh crore.
Smart Cities focus on improving the living standards of the citizens through the use of digital and information technologies, putting in place the best urban planning norms, forging public-private partnerships in the delivery of basic services and amenities to the citizens, and implementing a policy change that ensures to put people first. The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu had said that the Smart Cities Mission is the beginning of India’s urban renaissance. According to him, a Smart City is a liveable city to the people with required amenities like clean drinking water, sanitation, toilets, infrastructure etc. While addressing the gathering after releasing the Book ‘Smart Cities Unbundled’ authored by Dr. Sameer Sharma in April. He had further said that it as a renaissance because there has been a paradigm shift in both the planning, approach and implementation of Smart City mission.
The objective of Smart Cities Mission 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 as a lighthouse to other aspiring cities.
MISSION COVERAGE & TIMELINE
The SCM will cover 100 cities and its duration will be five years (FY2015-16 to FY2019-20). The Mission may be continued thereafter in the light of an evaluation to be done by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and incorporating the learning into the Mission. The 100 Smart Cities selected have been distributed among the States and UTs on the basis of an equitable criterion. The formula gives equal weightage (50:50) to the urban population of the State/UT and the number of statutory towns in the State/UT. Based on this formula, each State/UT will, therefore, have a certain number of potential Smart Cities, with each State/ UT having at least one.
FINANCING OF SMART CITIES
The Smart City Mission is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) and the Central Government has proposed to give Rs 48,000 crore as financial support to the Mission over the next 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.
The challenges are many to make the Smart Cities Mission successful. Some of these include:
Understanding the concepts of retrofitting, redevelopment and Greenfield development by the policy makers, implementers and other stakeholders at different levels will require capacity assistance.
Major investments in time and resources will have to be made throughout the implementation.
The Smart Cities Mission requires smart people who actively participate in governance and reforms. Citizen involvement is much more than ceremonial participation in governance. The participation of smart people will be enabled by the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) through increasing use of ICT, especially mobile-based tools.
The use of digital technology is playing a prominent role to bring about transparency and accountability, as well as improving service delivery to its citizens. The enrolled cities are rolling out the fast network of sensors and cameras to collect data, which is then analyzed by using artificial intelligence to make predictions and decisions regarding the collection of solid waste, traffic management, control of crime, etc.
AREA BASED DEVELOPMENT
Area Based Development is given prominence while implementing the smart city project. The cities pick up one area in consultation with the citizens, develop it fully and then proceed to develop all other areas of the city one by one. As part of the ABD, the cities have also started developing smart streets. The completed streets of Pune and Surat, shows a marked difference in the visual aesthetics and optimal utilisation of space.
Under the SCM, 100 Smart Cities have been selected in 4 Rounds based on All India Competition. All 100 cities have incorporated Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). As of December 2018, since the launch of the mission, a total of 5,151 projects have been identified for implementation by the cities worth more than Rs. 2 lakh crore which is in various stages of implementation in the 100 cities. 534 projects worth Rs. 10,116 crore have been completed and implementation has commenced for 1,177 projects worth Rs. 43,493 crore while tendering has started for 677 projects worth Rs. 38,207 crore.
Smart City Mission has lots of convergence with other missions like AMRUT etc. and some of the projects are implemented under Public Private Partnerships. The timeline for the completion of smart city projects according to the rounds in which they were selected is given below:
Round 1 cities- 2019-20 to 2020-21
Round 2 cities- 2019-20 to 2021-22
Round 3 cities- 2020-21 to 2021-22
Round 4 cities- 2020-21 to 2022-23
The progresses with respect to the implementation of projects are stated below:
For Smart Command & Control Centres projects worth Rs. 1,558 crore in 11 cities have been completed; projects worth Rs. 3,049 crore in 29 cities are under progress; Projects worth Rs. 2,730 crore in 21 cities already tendered.
For Smart Roads projects, worth Rs. 228 crore in 4 cities have been completed; projects worth Rs. 3,819 crore in 34 cities are under progress; projects worth Rs. 2,069 crore in 10 cities already tendered.
For Smart Water projects, worth Rs. 902 crore in 18 cities have been completed; projects worth Rs. 5,961 crore in 35 cities are under progress; projects worth Rs. 921 crore in 17 cities already tendered.
For Solar projects, worth Rs. 58 crore in 8 cities have been completed; projects worth Rs. 828 crore in 42 cities are under progress; further tenders have been issued for projects worth Rs. 300 crore in 9 cities already tendered.
For Visible and impactful projects, worth Rs. 179 crore in 16 cities have been completed; projects worth Rs. 3,701 crore in 32 cities are under progress; further tenders have been issued for projects worth Rs. 2,828 crore in 20 cities.
The wave of urbanization is on the rise in India. The quality of life in urban centres is chronically low. The country is facing challenges to manage the urban space and its inhabitants. The need of the hour is to focus on systematic urban planning, sustainable development and quick implementation of the Smart Cities Mission. The essence of ‘smartness’ is efficiency, effectiveness, excellence, and empathy. As the economy moves in top gear, India is expected to grow at a rapid pace by 2030; the growth would be largely contributed by the country’s urban centres. The urban jobs would account for 70 percent of the overall growth in the labour force. The development of 100 smart cities in India as part of Smart Cities Mission is likely to impact 9,96,30,069 lives living in urban areas. The potential for investment is huge in the development of Smart Cities. The estimated cost of the projects identified is Rs 2,03,172 crore. The Area Based Development project is estimated to cost Rs 1,64,204 crore. The Pan City Solution is estimated to cost Rs 38,914 crore.