The Smart Cities Mission 2015- Development Till Now
Smart Cities Mission was commenced on 25 June 2015 by the Government of India. The main intent of this mission is providing its citizens with good infrastructure, good environmental conditions, and healthy living conditions with the help of intelligent and innovative ways.
What are Smart Cities?
Smart cities are technologically advanced and modern urban areas. In this area, all the specific data is collected and maintained with the help of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the Internet of Things (IoT) network to optimize the efficiency of several services and operations.
Some main characteristics of smart cities are:-
2.1) e- Panchayat
2.2) e- Chaupal
3) Good Infrastructure
3.1) Good water supply
3.2) Electricity for all
3.3) Proper Sanitation
3.4) Solid waste management system
3.5) Urban Mobility
3.6) Adequate public transportation
3.7) Affordable living conditions like Housing
3.8) Sustainable environment
What is Smart Cities Mission (SCM)?
The focus of this mission is on sustainable development so that the needs of future generations are not taken for granted. The basic idea is to look at compact spaces and create an imitable model that will act like a landmark for other ambitious newbies.
Objectives of Smart Cities Mission:-
1) To improve quality of life
2) To provide people with better infrastructure
3) To introduce better healthcare facilities
4) To Improve safety and security
5) Introduce Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
6) To improve the workings of government through direct participation
From January 2016 to June 2018, 4 rounds of the selection process were held for choosing the Smart Cities. 100 Smart Cities were selected in this process. Around 5,151 projects worth Rs 2,05,018 crores were proposed by these 100 cities as a part of their Smart Cities Proposals (SPRs).
Budgeting of Smart Cities:-
The Central Government will provide financial support of Rs 48,000 crores over five years, on an average of Rs 500 crores per city and, the state / urban local body will contribute the same amount.
In addition to these funds, Rs 42,028 crores (21%) are proposed from convergence with other missions, Rs 41,022 crores (21%) from Public-Private Partnership (PPP), Rs 9,843 crores (4.8%) from loans, and Rs 2,644 crores (1.3%) from own resources and remaining from other sources.
Implementation of SCM:-
Implementation of Smart Cities is done by City Level Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which is established and incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013 by respective ULBs (Urban Local Bodies) and State/ Union Territories on a 50:50 joint venture.
The Smart City SPV is in charge of planning, evaluating, managing, operating, and approving the implementation of the Smart Cities Development Project.
Smart Cities and COVID-19
The Integrated Command and Control Centers (ICCC) were set up under the mission in various Smart Cities, including Bangalore, Pune, Agra, and Vadodara. They were transformed into war rooms for problem-solving time intensive care and adequate management of the pandemic using modern and innovative technology.
The ICCCs are set up to implement initiatives such as:-
1) Virtual pieces of training and practices for doctors and healthcare workers
2) GPS tracking of Ambulances and disinfection services in the time of need
3) Virtually meeting doctors for accessing medical services, telemedicine, etc.
4) Marking of COVID positive areas and containment zones
5) CCTV facilities in almost all public places
It helped in gathering reasonable information across Smart Cities in fighting COVID-19. This information included fast and rapid communication, active management of containment zones, and requesting people to take useful steps to prevent spreading infections.
The SCM has helped in the accumulation of information on food and shelter provision with location and contact details of food distribution, kitchen, and shelter homes that exist or are newly started across the Smart Cities.
As of July 5, 2022, 7,825 projects worth Rs 1,90,878 crores have been tendered out by the 100 Smart Cities, of which work orders for 7,650 projects worth Rs 1,81,113 crore have been issued, and 4,035 projects worth Rs 66,343 crores have been completed.
The projects completed under Smart Cities Mission include:-
1) 57 Solar Panel plan
2) 310 Smart Roads
3) 101 Water System
4) 123 Public-Private System
Smart cities of India
Varanasi, Bhopal, Indore, Surat, Bhubaneshwar, and Ahmedabad are considered to be said as first smart cities of India. The mission juncture ends in 2023 and till now these seven cities have been declared to be the most dominant ones. Most completed projects are mainly in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujrat and, the remaining will be done by the end of the year.
Percentage of projects completed:-
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is now, focusing on the bottom 40 cities that are lagging.
However, despite all the development plans the provision of Metro-rail facilities is not anticipated in SCM. This will lead to a downfall in the share of public transport, which is necessary, keeping in mind the increasing urbanization.
Another challenge is a rise in population and pollution due to the increase in urbanization. The objective of SCM is to provide people with better living conditions and reasonable and sustainable development, but an increase in pollution does not promote quality living.
Despite having so many funds, not even a single city completed all the projects on time even though seven years had already passed. A sound management system is essential for maintaining funds and working on all the projects to ensure everything is completed on time.
Hence, it can be said that there is still a need to promote growth and development in Smart Cities. All the necessary measures should be taken to stimulate development without compromising the environmental conditions. With the help of sustainable development, a healthy lifestyle can be achieved.
edited and proofread by Gauri Malhotra