Smart City Project: Key facts on India's new urban vision; how advantageous for socio economic growth

Friday, July 22 2016, 01:55 AM
India celebrated the 1st anniversary of launch of project - Smart City mission on June 25, 2016
Smart city is a city where information technology is the principal infrastructure and is the basis for providing essential services to residents

India celebrated the 1st anniversary of launch of project – Smart City mission on June 25, 2016. Smart City Mission is the dream project of India to convert the 100 cities of India into world class cities with international standard infrastructure and making available all the facilities hassle free. Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi launched this project in June 2015. 

The Smart Cities Mission of the Government is a bold, new initiative. It 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

Smart City Project is one of the hottest topics in current affairs and a favourite source of GK questions in MBA and other entrance exams. Questions on GK or General Awareness form an important section with a weightage of 15 to 25% in almost all the national level MBA entrance tests including XAT, IIFT, SNAP. GK questions are also the source of discussion during GD, PI, WAT, Extempore topics for MBA admission in IIMs, FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, XLRI and other highly ranked institutes. has begun with a unique initiative of publishing a series of current GK topics to benefit the MBA aspirants to know more about the current national and global environment that become the source of GK questions.

Smart City: Concept
The conceptualisation of Smart City varies from city to city and country to country, depending on the level of development, willingness to change and reform, resources and aspirations of the city residents.

A smart city would have a different connotation in India than in Europe. Even in India, there is no one way of defining a smart city. Some definitional boundaries are required to guide cities in the Mission.

In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a smart city contains a wish list of infrastructure and services that describes his or her level of aspiration. To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban eco-system, which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development-institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure.

Smart city: Parameters in Indian context

-- A 'smart city' is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability

-- Smart city is a city where information technology is the principal infrastructure and is the basis for providing essential services to residents.  Accordingly the smart city mission proposes to integrate multiple information and communication technology (ICT) solutions in a secure fashion to manage the city’s assets including transportation, hospitals, libraries, schools, power and water supply, waste management, law enforcement and other services.

-- In a smart city, economic development and activity is sustainable and rationally incremental by virtue of being based on success-oriented market drivers such as supply and demand

-- Smart city will benefit everybody, including citizens, businesses, the government and the environment.

-- In smart cities a number of services such as an e-governance portal, an emergency helpline, e-education, a smart-card enabling cashless retail transactions and recording of medical data for better treatment are present that facilitates the proper functioning of the system.

Why India needs Smart cities?
Across the world, the stride of migration from rural to urban areas is increasing. By 2050, about 70 per cent of the population will be living in cities, and India is no exception to this fact. It will need about 500 new cities to accommodate the influx. Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘100 smart cities’ project has been a subject of praise which when takes shape of reality will pave way to tremendous growth of India.

How advantageous to Socio-Economic growth

-- The 100 Smart cities in India are going to give a new shape and new recognition to India in the coming future.

-- It will improve the pace of economic growth and can provide number of job opportunities to the new talents in the country.

-- The Indian Prime Minister agenda of the “Skill Development” to the youths will gain success when this project starts taking its shape.

-- The advancement towards new technology will drive more youths to learn and to earn their livelihood.

-- The “Make in India” project will also boom when the Industrial Corridors such as DMIC, BMEC, AKIC, and CBIC will come into real picture. The development of these corridors will itself contribute a lot in the infrastructural and economical growth of the smart cities lying nearby these belts.

-- Smart City plan is part of a larger agenda of creating Industrial Corridors between India’s big metropolitan cities in India. These include the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), the Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor (CBIC) and the Bangalore-Mumbai Economic Corridor (BMEC). It is hoped that many industrial and commercial centres will be recreated as “Smart Cities” along these corridors.

-- The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), which is spread across six states, seeks to create seven new smart cities as the nodes of the corridor in its first phase. There are several such smart city projects being undertaken across the country in places such as Dholera in Gujarat, Kochi in Kerala, Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Manesar in Delhi NCR, Khushkera in Rajasthan, Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Ponneri in Tamil Nadu and Tumkur in Karnataka.

Funding for Smart City project

  • Government of India (GoI) is providing Rs. 2 crore for the preparation of Smart City Proposal (SCP).
  • Separate funding will be provided from the World Bank assisted Capacity Building for Urban Development (CBUD) Project for meeting the cost for payment to Consulting Firms
  • Initially after the city is chosen to be converted into Smart City, GoI will provide Rs.500 crore and States will contribute its matching share of Rs.500 crore apart from the availability of massive funds from other sources.
  • Smart cities will sustain by collecting user Charges/Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs)/FFC recommendations (incl land based instruments)/Municipal bonds/Borrowings from bilaterals and multilaterals/ National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)/Convergence with other Government schemes.
  • Japan has offered a great volume of investment to the tune of $ 4.5 bn in India to develop smart cities in the first phase of the DMIC project through lending from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
  • Japan is also working closely with the government for the development of other industrial corridors
  • Government has opened the doors for the foreign investors to invest in India and contributes in the development of the smart cities in India
  • IBM and Cisco are the technological partners in developing the smart cities. IBM and Cisco have prepared the Integrated Communication Technology (ICT) Master Plan for the smart cities under the DMIC project in the first phase
  • Smart cities project will raise the living standard of the common people as well as it will contribute in the development of the Indian economy. The smart city project will place India among the top nations of the world. The Indian economy will then have great influence in the Global economy.

Emerging questions from the text

When was Smart city Mission launched?

How many cities are proposed to be covered in the mission?

What is the share of Central and state Governments to begin the work in smart city after it is selected to be developed as smart city?

5 key parameters to make a city smart?

Where from the funding be made to full develop a smart city?

How the smart city would sustain itself?

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