On 25th June 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched India’s 100 smart cities mission, with a vision to promote cities, which will provide core infrastructure, sustainable environment application of smart solutions.
Concept of Smart City
The concept of smart city, as it means different things to different people, changes from city to city and country to country. It depends on the willingness to change and reform, the level of growth, aspirations and resources of the residents of the city. A smart city, therefore, would have a different meaning in India than it would have in America or Europe or England, etc. Even in India it cannot be defined exactly by using a single yardstick.
As some definitional frontiers are necessary to steer the Smart Cities Mission, urban planners have basically aimed at expanding the entire eco- system. This eco-system rests on the four pillars of comprehensive development: institutional, physical, social, and economic infrastructure.
Objective of the Smart Cities Mission
The objective of the mission is to promote cities that cater core infrastructure and provide its citizens a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart Solutions’.
The Smart Cities Mission, undoubtedly a new and bold initiative of the Government, has a committed vision to establish examples that can be presented as models to be replicated both within and outside the Smart City; thus, in the process, it can make way for the creation of similar Smart Cities in different parts and regions of the country.
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The Core Infrastructure
The core infrastructure, according to the Smart Cities Mission, of a Smart City consist of adequate water supply; sanitation, comprising of solid waste management; guaranteed electricity supply; affordable housing especially for the poor; robust IT connectivity and digitalization; efficient urban mobility and public transport; good governance, especially e-governance and citizen participation; sustainable environment; safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly; and health and education.
Smart Solutions of the Mission
Although preparing an exhaustive list of Smart Solution is not possible for cities are free to add applications according to their need and aspirations, a general list has, in a mode of guidelines, been prepared by the Smart Cities Mission. The list consists of:
This section includes smart meters and management, leakage identification and its preventive measures; and water quality monitoring.
This section includes waste of energy and fuel; waste of compost; waste water to be treated; and recycling and reduction of C & D waste.
Under this section, smart meters and their management; renewable sources of energy; and energy efficient and green buildings are included
E-Governance and Citizens Services
This section deals with public information and grievance redressal; electronic service delivery; Citizens engagement; citizens – city’s eyes and ears; and video crime monitoring.
This section provides the guidelines for smart parking; intelligence traffic management; and integrated multi-modal transport.
The purpose of the Mission is to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life of people through local areas development by harnessing technology particularly the technology that leads to Smart outcomes.
The mission envisages that the area based development is going to convert existing areas, including slums, into better planned ones. This certainly is going to improve living condition of the entire city. New areas, supposed to be Greenfield ones, are to be developed around cities to accommodate the expanding population in urban areas. Application of Smart Solutions is certainly going to capacitate cities and its citizens in using technology, information and date to improve infrastructure and services. This sort of all round development, as visioned by the Smart Cities Mission, is surely going to create employment, enhance income for all, particularly for the poor and disadvantage, and improve quality of living. This will make way for inclusive Cities.
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Implementation of Smart Cities Mission
For the implementation of the Mission at the city level a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), for each smart city, has been formed. The SPV has been accorded the responsibilities to plan, appraise, approve, release funds, implement, manage, operate, monitor and evaluate Smart City development projects. The members a SPV, headed by a full time CEO, are to be nominated by Central Government, State Government and ULB on its Boards.
The SPV is to be a limited company incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013 at the city–level. In this company the State/UT and the ULB are going to be promoters having 50:50 equity shareholdings. The private sector or financial institutions can also be considered for getting equity stake in the SPV on the condition that the shareholding pattern of 50:50 of the State/UT and the ULB remain intact and the State/UT and the ULB together hold majority of shareholding and control of the SVP.
The State/ULBs have to ensure the availability of a dedicated and substantial revenue team to the SVP in order to make it self-sustainable so as to it could evolve its own credit–worthiness for raising additional resources from the market. The State/ULBs have also to ensure it that Government contribution for Smart City is used only to make infrastructure that has public benefit outcomes. The execution of projects is to be completed through Public – Private Partnership (PPP), joint ventures, subsidiaries, turnkey contracts, etc. suitably attached with revenue streams.
Fund Release under Smart Cities Mission
Each selected Smart City, in the first year, according to the proposal of the Central Government, will be provided a sum of Rs. 200 crore to create a higher initial corpus. After deducting Rs. Two crore advance and A & OE share of the MoUD, each selected Smart City is going to receive 194 crore out of Rs. 200 Crore in the first year followed by Rs. 98 crore out of Rs. 100 crore every year for the coming next three years.
The conditions for the release of yearly installment of funds to SPVs include timely submission of the City Score Card (CSC) every quarter to MoUD; satisfactory Physical and financial progress as shown in the Utilization Certificate and the annual city score card; achievement of milestones provided in the road map contained in SCP; and fully functioning SPV as penned down in the Guidelines and Articles of Association.