Cities are the main source of growth and development of any state which lead to the overall development of a nation. In India, cities constitute 31% of the national population and contribute about 68% to the GDP which is expected to be increased to 75% by 2030.
Why do we need smart cities?
As mentioned earlier, cities contribute around 68% to the nation’s GDP. Our cities are what define the cultural, economical and social aspects of our country. They are the nation’s identity. When cities are such an integral part of the country’s economic and social dynamics, it is necessary to optimize these cities for further and faster growth and development of the nation. To achieve this, there is an upcoming ‘Smart cities’ challenge which is one of the latest initiatives taken up by the Government of India.
What are smart cities?
There is no fixed definition regarding what exactly a Smart City is. It is relative to the context and differs from state to state and country to country. Yet, in order to take this initiative further in the right direction, some boundaries need to be defined, i.e. a path has to be set in the direction of the aspirations of the cities. These guidelines based on which these cities will be transformed into Smart Cities by improving these facilities are:
- Adequate water supply
- Adequate supply of electricity
- Proper solid waste management and sanitation facilities
- Faster and proper redressal of the grievances of the citizens
- Adequate transport facilities
- Health and education facilities
- Affordable and proper housing for the poor
- Good governance including e-governance, etc.
All the available resources of the nation as well as modern technology and facilities have to be put to use in this direction to create these ‘Smart’ cities.
How are cities being transformed into ‘smart’ cities?
The government, inspired by successful initiatives of various cities all around the world like Bangkok, New York, Barcelona, Hangzhou, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Rajkot, Istanbul, Curitiba, etc. has launched the mission to create ‘smart solutions’ in cities all over the nation that can be replicated within and outside those cities to transform them into Smart cities.
For this, a letter is to be sent to the governments of all potential smart cities and based on their proposal; the cities are to be shortlisted. The shortlisted cities will then move on to round 2 where their proposals will be evaluated by a panel of experts and the selected cities will be declared smart cities. These selected cities will then have to submit their tender and finances will be allotted for the same and the implementation of the proposal will begin. This mission will cover around 100 cities in its duration of five years i.e. 2015-2019.
The cities must include certain features necessary for it to be declared a Smart city. They are:
- Promoting mixed land use
- Expansion of housing opportunities
- Development of public transport
- Preservation and development of open spaces like parks, playgrounds, etc.
- Making governance citizen friendly and cost effective
- Creating walkable localities
- Giving an identity to the city based on its main economic activity.
Based on this, a plan of action has been set to implement this challenge, which includes:
Retrofitting will include building up the existing infrastructure within the areas of the city (up to 500 acres) to meet the set objectives, to make the area more efficient and liveable. The existing infrastructure will remain intact on most levels. Hence it requires intense infrastructure development.
In redevelopment, an existing built up environment and infrastructure of the city (up to 50 acres) will be replaced by an entirely new layout using mixed land use and more density. The Slum Rehabilitation Project in cities like Mumbai and Ahmedabad is an example of this.
This will introduce smart solutions into the previously vacant areas of the city(up to 250 acres) and make it more efficient by providing affordable houses to the poor in such areas and developing these areas. GIFT city in Gujarat is one such prominent example.
Pan development includes developing the city wide infrastructure by implementation of proper planning tools and utilizing newer technologies and resources that are more citizens friendly.
Thus, this Smart cities challenge based on this strategy is being implemented by the Government of India to take our nation further on the route to economic and social development and turn it into a ‘smart’ nation. How far will this initiative go, nobody knows.
Complete list of Upcoming Smart Cities
|S.No.||Names of Cities||Name of State/UT|
|1||Port Blair||Andaman & Nicobar Islands|
|13||Diu||Daman & Diu|
|14||Silvassa||Dadra & Nagar Haveli|
|15||New Delhi Municipal Council||Delhi|
|30||Hubballi – Dharwad||Karnataka|
|50||Kalyan – Dombivali||Maharashtra|
|95||New Town Kolkata||West Bengal|