Smart City Project: Why is It a Development Pathway?

Sneha Gunu S

Introduction

Have you ever imagined a city that contains everything you need? A city where you have adequate water, electricity, sanitation, transportation, housing, governance and whatnot. A city where you get whatever you want. A smart city project is such a project that aims to provide all these facilities in a city.

A smart city project or smart city mission is an initiative by the government of India. It aims towards the comprehensive development of a city with core infrastructure to provide a decent quality of living to its residents. The Union Ministry of Urban Development along with the State government is keeping a tight rein on sustainable and inclusive development of the 100 cities selected under the smart city project since June 25, 2015. The project was initially started for 5 years from 2015-16 to 2019-20. The total budget allocated to a city is 200 Cr., Out of which 100 Cr. will be given by the state government and the other 100 Cr. by the central government which means 1,000 Cr. is allotted to each city for 5 years. 

According to a 2011 census, there were 31% of people that were living in cities, contributing 63% to GDP and by 2030, there will be 40% people living in cities, contributing 75% to GDP.

Thus, there is a need to provide good facilities for these people. Although no exact definition of a smart city is given by the government, as said by honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a smart city is one step ahead of the needs and aspirations of people. A smart city is different for each country as the conditions, environment and infrastructure vary from country to country and even from city to city. Thus, no particular definition can be given to it. So, according to the conditions of India, a smart city may be defined as one which makes use of Information Communication Technology so that it can provide smart solutions by mobilizing technology for smart outcomes.

A city developed under smart city projects with ample supply of water, guaranteed electricity supply, hygiene, sufficient public transportation, affordable housing, sustainable development, safety and security, and robust health and education. Thus, a smart city has gone through a process of comprehensive development. The development further ensures economic growth which results in improved quality of life. To fulfill the needs as well as desires of people, four pillars represent a smart city. These pillars include institutional infrastructure, physical infrastructure, social infrastructure, and economic infrastructure.

The Ministry of Urban Development selected the cities that will be turned into smart cities based on competition. Firstly, the cities competed at the state level with other cities and the winning cities competed at the national level. Based on this competition, 98 cities were selected by the Ministry of Urban Development as of August 2015. The whole process of selection is divided into five parts. Initially, 20 cities were selected in the first round. In the second round, 13 more cities were selected, in the third round, 27 cities were added to the list. Further, in the fourth round, 30 cities and finally, in the fifth round, 10 cities were selected for the smart city mission.

The Strategy of the Smart City Project

  • Pan-city initiative – Initially, the cities selected under the smart city project will have at least one smart solution that is applied city-wise. Thus, each city will have one smart solution for a start.
  • Step-by-step development– All the cities have their distinct needs, and conditions, and varied infrastructure. So, the development plan for each city will also be distinct, based on its infrastructure and needs and aspirations of people so that it can fulfill all the desires of the people.
  • Retrofitting– In this step, the infrastructure that is already present in the city will be renovated and the shortcomings will be removed as per the development plan.
  • Redevelopment – The buildings that can’t be renovated, will be redeveloped in this step.
  • Greenfield– Finally, the greenfield of the city that remained after retrofitting and redevelopment, will be constructed. Greenfield refers to a place where no prior construction has been undertaken. We have to develop a completely new place and that too from scratch. Often, rural areas and countryside make up a greenfield.

Smart City Project is a great project for all over India. It will surely enhance our growth prospects and economy. On the journey from being a developing country to becoming a developed country, this project will surely turn out to be a big step. Although, there are some shortcomings in the overall planning efficient steps that will surely drive them away, making the project a huge success. The development is moving at a fast pace and it is believed that by 2023, the selected cities will be turned into smart cities. But still, according to the real value, the work completed is just 11% of the total work. So, the efforts are still not sufficient and we have a long way ahead. Dholera SIR and GIFT City, Gujrat, India’s first greenfield projects are feasts to behold. Although, whatever has been accomplished is a feast to behold. Positive things take time but the outcome is worth waiting for. So, we should undertake all the possible steps to cooperate with the government so that the project comes out to be perfect. Because, the number of smart cities, smarter and more developed India. In a nutshell, the smart city mission is a pathway to the development of India. 


References

https://smartcities.gov.in/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_Cities_Mission

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