By definition ‘Smart Cities’ are the ones that uses information technology to solve urban problems. In India, the key features of a Smart City will include provision of good infrastructure; a base to attract investments; transparent processes to run commercial activities; on-line processes for obtaining approvals, and various citizen centric services for the community.
With this vision, Narendra Modi’s government allocated 70.6 billion rupees (£762m) to its “100 Smart Cities” plan. The Union Cabinet has also provided an approval of Rs 100 crore to be given to each city per year for the next five years. That represents a huge investment in urban renewal.
If you wonder what those cities are: Please be noted that the cities will be shortlisted based on a ‘City Challenge Competition’, that showcases the potential to fulfill the mission’s objectives. “Each state will shortlist a certain number of smart city aspirants as per the norms to be indicated and they will prepare smart city proposals for further evaluation for extending Central support,” as per the suggested cabinet note.
The cabinet note also mentions that it expects Special Purpose Vehicles to be set up for smart cities by each state, which will ensure their financing. In addition, India has spoken to France, Japan and Singapore and other countries about collaborating on the projects. All pretty interesting!
If you wonder how would it look like, then check out this video showcasing the expected advancements to be made in Dholera – the future smart city :
Yes, it sounds all good and fancy, but only the implementation of the plan and real outcome will tell us the ground reality. We are hopeful that it enables the country to prosper further without scaling up the rich/poor divide.