Government encourages competition for ‘Smart Cities’ ideas.
With an aim to build cities with world-class infrastructure, the Narendra Modi government is planning to encourage competition among states and urban bodies in coming out with “out-of-the-box” ideas while selecting the habitations for developing of 100 Smart Cities.
Urban development ministry, the nodal agency for the ambitious project of the NDA government, feels only states and cities which showcase the ability to build best infrastructure in their cities should be eligible for assistance from the Union government under the Smart Cities programme. A senior official told this newspaper that the ministry is now putting in place a mechanism to profile all the cities on specific parameters that have a bearing on their ability to address issues of governance reforms, resource mobilisation and execution. “This is basically to ensure that the Smart Cities project goes to the best cities that have good ideas on building a world class city. The states and cities which want central funding would be asked to give their plan and ideas and the ministry will take a call on those proposals,” the official said. The Smart Cities project is likely to get the approval Expenditure Finance Committee on Thursday, after which it will get the necessary approval from the Union Cabinet. “Once the Cabinet approves the proposal, the project would be rolled out. The selection of cities for the project will be done through a transparent process so that no one complains that they were left out,” the official said.
He also explained that the cities would be asked to come out with area-specific plans on the Smart Cities project. The Union government plans to implement the Smart Cities project under the Public Private Partnership mode.
It estimates that Rs 40 lakh crore is required for provision of basic infrastructure besides another Rs 20 lakh crore for operation & maintenance of urban utilities over the next 20 years. Building of 100 Smart Cities is the flagship urban renewal programme of the Modi government.
All state capitals, cities with a population of one to four million and those with tourist and religious importance qualify to be a “Smart City”, that would boast of world-class transport, 24/7 water supply and electricity, 100 mbps Internet connectivity and telemedicine facilities.
The official said the government wants maximum participation from private sector in developing 100 Smart Cities across the country.
The blueprint prepared by the government says a city with a population of up to 40 lakh or more, all states and union territory capitals, cities of tourist and religious importance and select cities which have a population of less than 10 lakh population would get a chance to nominate a satellite city for the “Smart City” project.
Mar 26, 2015 – E.T.B. Sivapriyan | New Delhi
Giving thumbs up to Modi government’s focus on developing smart cities, Michael Bloomberg, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities & Climate Change on Monday said, “From my experience, he (PM Modi) is absolutely correct to make cities a central focus of his work.”
“The more India invests in sustainable cities, the stronger its economy will grow,” Bloomberg said. Giving a special address at RE-INVEST 2015, Bloomberg said, “Prime Minister Modi is showing that confronting climate change goes hand-in-hand with smart economic growth.”
Bloomberg urged both India’s private sector and foreign investors to continue developing and investing in the clean energy market which create “knowledge-intensive jobs and support the nation’s goals”.
Power Minister Piyush Goyal assured that the government will make sure that the investments in India will be protected and encouraged. He said for a new investment destination the prerequisite is an atmosphere which makes to do business easier, consistency in policies, bankable contracts and prevalence of rule of law in the country.
Goyal sought to assure investors that though the government is pro-poor, it understands the problems of business and will act as a facilitator.