With the urban population growth and regions rapidly expanding, the government is seeking more innovative methods to manage complexity, create efficiency, and improve quality of life. This has resulted in cities' need to monitor and integrate infrastructure to optimize resources and provide better services to citizens.
The Hon' Prime Minister of India inaugurated the Smart Cities Mission on June 25, 2015, to stimulate economic growth and improve people's quality of life by supporting local development and using technology to achieve intelligent results for people.
Need for the Scheme
Cities house 31% of India's population and generate 63% of GDP (Census 2011). Urban regions are predicted to house 40% of India's population and generate 75% GDP by 2030. Cities' growing populations pose infrastructural and service delivery issues. The Smart Cities Mission in India is a programme that tries to address these issues efficiently and effectively.
Smart Cities Mission: Government of India Initiative towards Smart India
The Mission will span 100 cities and last five years (FY2015-16 to FY2019-20). The Mission may be sustained in the future based on an evaluation conducted by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and the incorporation of the learning experience into the Mission. The allocation of Smart Cities will be evaluated after two years of Mission execution.
Based on an evaluation of the performance of States/ULBs in the Challenge, some reallocation of the remaining prospective Smart Cities across states may be necessary.
The formula provides 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 model, each state/UT has a specific number of possible Smart Cities, with each state/UT having at least one. The number of potential Smart Cities from each State/UT will be limited to the number specified.
This distribution method has also been allocated funding under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation - AMRUT. Monitoring these smart cities would be done at three levels: National, State, and City.
National: An Apex Committee, chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development and comprised of officials from associated ministries and organisations, will be charged with the approval of plans, monitoring progress, and releasing funding.
State: A High Powered Steering Committee (HPSC) would drive the Smart City Mission, led by the Chief Secretary of State.
City: All Smart Cities have a Smart City Advisory Forum comprised of the District Collector, Chief Executive Officer of a Special Purpose Vehicle (an SPV is constituted for city-level implementation). Its function is to disburse money, implement, monitor, and evaluate Smart City development initiatives, Member of Parliament, Legislative Assembly, Mayor, local youth, and technical experts.
The Smart City Mission would be run as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), with the Central Government proposing to fund it to Rs. 48,000 crores over five years, or Rs. 100 crore per city each year. The State/ULB would have to provide an equivalent amount on a matching basis; hence, almost Rs. one lakh crore of Government/ULB money will be available for Smart Cities development.
A Smart City would have adequate water supply, guaranteed electricity supply, sanitation, including solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transportation, affordable housing, particularly for the poor, robust IT connectivity and digitalization, good governance, particularly e-Governance and citizen participation, a sustainable environment, safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children, and the elderly, and a smart city.
Area-based development components of India's 100 Smart Cities Mission include city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment), and city expansion (greenfield development), as well as a pan-city programme.
Area-based development will convert existing neighborhoods, including slums, into better-designed residential zones through retrofitting and redevelopment, increasing the city's overall habitability. Greenfield projects will create new regions in the city to accommodate the city's growing population. Pan-city development entails the integration of selected smart technologies into the city's current infrastructure.
- This is the first time a MoUD programme has used the 'Challenge' or 'Competition' technique to choose cities for funding and an area-based development plan. This personifies the spirit of 'competitive and cooperative federalism.
- States and ULBs will be critical partners in the creation of Smart Cities. Smart leadership and vision at this level and the capacity to act decisively will be vital determinants in deciding the Mission's success.
- Understanding the ideas of retrofitting, redevelopment, and the greenfield development at various levels would necessitate capacity help from policymakers, implementers, and other stakeholders.
- Before participating in the Challenge, significant expenditures in time and resources will be required. This is distinct from the traditional DPR-driven approach.
- Smart people who actively participate in governance and transformation are needed for the Smart Cities Mission. Citizen participation in government is much more than a ceremonial act. The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will facilitate smart people's engagement by boosting the use of ICT, particularly mobile-based solutions.
- State and local governments need fine grained data and the ability to analyze it to comprehend their communities' changing requirements.
- Even though India's Smart Cities Mission has selected over 20 priority sectors, efforts by the appropriate authorities still need to be made.
- The operation of urban municipal governments receives little attention.
- The Area Based Development method – building a sewage system or a network of roads in another city – will only cover around 3% of the urban areas linked with these smart cities.
- Both technical and human competence, as well as professionalism, are lacking in urban local governments.
- Urban local bodies lack both technical and human capacity and professionalism.
Effect on the Indian economy
The Smart Cities Mission in India has been granted Rs. 6,450 crores (US$ 868 million) in the Union Budget 2021-22, up from Rs. 3,400 crores (US$ 457 million) in FY21 (revised estimates). Smart city infrastructure necessitates a significant capital investment. The government is focusing on fostering Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) to ensure the effective implementation of India's smart city initiative.
The Smart Cities Mission aims to provide citizens with affordable housing and modern transportation at all levels. For the same, the government has to facilitate a smooth land acquisition procedure that provides the people with appropriate rehabilitation and resettlement.
Smart cities cannot be a solution to India's urban issues. It is necessary to reasonably grasp the situation by collecting data in an organised manner. Similarly, India must produce evidence-based transportation and waste management data to improve urban government. Building these communities cannot be funded only by government spending; private sector participation is required.
Citizen engagement is essential throughout the policy development, implementation, and implementation processes since residents are the ultimate beneficiaries of smart cities. Smart city development needs astute leadership from all three levels of government.
Rather than a purely technological vision, the plan should recognize that cities' vibrant life depends on the variety and enabling environments. With a foundation of dependable civic services, pollution-free commons, walkability, and easy mobility are the smart way to go. With urbanization gaining prominence in global policy debate, it is critical to concentrate on local governance.