Smart Cities: Selection & Implementation

In part 2 of the Smart Cities series, we take a look at selection criteria, implementation and launch of the program.

The pillars of ‘Smart Cities’ are green environment & utilities, smart buildings, e-governance, transportation, healthcare, water & waste management, smart urban planning, IT and communications, public safety, education and clean energy.

Criteria for entry as a Smart City

In early 2015, the government framed certain criteria to streamline entry into the Smart Cities Mission competition for cities and towns across India. Each state or union territory had to nominate at least one city for the smart city transformation process in Stage 1 of the selection process. The population of these cities must range between 1-4 million (exception being capitals of all states/union territories); and/or cities that are e of religious or touristic significance.

Implementation

The 2nd stage of the Smart Cities initiative or the implementation process involves the creation of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPVs) by the selected cities to execute their Smart City Proposals (SCPs). These proposals comprised of detailed project reports (DPRs), layout plans, tender preparation, prospective vendor lists, financial modeling reports, etc. Headed by a CEO, the SPV would comprise of officials of the central, state government and urban local bodies (ULBs). However, these projects are to be executed through joint ventures, PPP contracts and other subsidiaries. The SPV is supposed to plan, approve and sanction projects, release funds, execute projects, overview the activities, ensure projects are completed within stipulated timelines, mobilize resources, review quality control, collect taxes, enter into further contracts and delivery agreements, implement, manage and monitor the Smart City development projects.

At the national level, the committee comprises of two bodies. The Apex committee that will review the list of cities and their proposals after stage 2, approve, release funds, recommend & adopt corrective measures if required mid-way through the projects, and undertake quality reviews regularly. Meanwhile, the National Mission Directorate is required to develop blueprints and detailed designs of the city including its implementation process, co-ordinate & share best practices including smart solutions, oversee capacity building &develop financial models, land monetization, and risk mitigation techniques amongst others.

smart-cities-initiative

The key responsibilities of primary committee at the state level is to provide guidance, oversee processes of the stage 1 and review SCPs; whereas the city level committees will monitor the progress of the entire activity.

Launch

In June 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 14 projects in Pune along with 69 projects in other cities entailing a cost of ~INR 2,000 crores. The total cost of area development and pan-city solutions was fixed at INR 48,000 crore. These projects included works on solid waste management, housing projects for the urban poor, area development, pan city based solutions, water supply, sewage treatment plants, and development of green spaces. In Pune , projects were launched in slum rehabilitation, walkways (street and pedestrian), modern buses (using alternative fuel), and city common mobility card. The Pune event marked the beginning of the much-needed urban transformation and was followed by the launch of the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), sewerage projects (investment INR 1275 crore) and water supply projects (investment INR 817 crore) in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkhand.

A smart city constitutes sustainable & efficient solutions at all levels of transport, energy, water, waste management, communication, education, healthcare, public safety & governance and requires huge investments from the government. Apart from identifying local resources such as state, municipal bodies (ULBs) and the central government; funds will be sourced from levying higher taxes on land, entertainment, income, profession and land conversion charges. Sourcing funds through public-private partnerships and international resources is also another option

Smart Cities’ initiative plans to tackle poverty, mobilize the skills of the citizens and stand for inclusive governance, thereby transforming cities and giving rise to urban renaissance.

The next part, we will look at the various types of Smart Cities

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