Indian cities are going to be smart if the Smart Cities Mission launched by the Modi government becomes a reality. It’s indeed a matter of great pride that Kochi is the only city in Kerala selected for development under this ambitious mission. But there are challenges aplenty to make this mission a success given the status of the country’s infrastructure and procedural hurdles.
Smart Cities Mission is an urban renewal and retrofitting program by the Government of India with a mission to develop 100 cities all over the country making them citizen friendly, safe and sustainable. The Union Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for implementing the mission in collaboration with the state governments of the respective cities. The government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a vision of developing 100 smart cities as satellite towns of larger cities and by modernizing the existing mid-sized cities.
The 100 potential smart cities were nominated by all the states and union territories based on Stage 1 criteria, prepared smart city plans which were evaluated in stage 2 of the competition for prioritizing cities for financing. In the first round of this stage, 20 top scorers were chosen for financing during 2015-16. The remaining will be asked to make up the deficiencies identified by the Apex Committee in the Ministry of Urban Development for participation in the next two rounds of competition.
Not an impossible mission
Though the mission has the potential to change the face of India’s urbanscape, it is definitely going to be an uphill task to make Indian cities really smart.
The Broad spectrum of challenges include providing adequate water supply including waste water recycling and storm water reuse, assured electricity supply – least 10% of the energy requirement coming from solar power, sanitation, including solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, affordable housing, especially for poor, robust IT connectivity and digitalization, good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation, sustainable environment and ensuring safety of citizens, especially women and elderly, and health and education.
To make the mission a success what really needed is a drastic change in the mindset of not only the public at large but also of the local bodies, people’s representatives, bureaucrats and the government employees. Then only the dream will come true.
(Read the full story in the April 2016 issue of Safety Messenger Magazine)