The Government is set to announce by September 1 the names of urban centres that would figure in the list of 100 smart cities, a flagship scheme of the Narendra Modi administration.
“By September 1, the list of 100 cities will be announced officially. It is almost ready,” Union Minister of Urban Development and Housing M Venkaiah Naidu said today.
“Initially, only 20 cities will be taken up on priority. These 20 cities will be selected on certain parameters, which have already been communicated to the 100 cities. Not only 100 cities, those guidelines had been sent to other aspirant cities also,” he said.
Naidu was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of ‘National Conclave on Smart Technologies’ organised by Smart Cities Council India.
Explaining further, he said the competition among cities will be in terms of providing better amenities to citizens and administration, including accountability and transparency, based on which ranking would be provided.
He said the implementation of the mission will be done by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). The SPV will plan, appraise, approve, release funds, implement, manage, operate, monitor and evaluate the Smart City development projects.
Each smart city will have a SPV which will be headed by a full time CEO and have nominees of Central and State Governments and Urban Local Body on its Board.
“Initially, the Government will provide Rs 100-crore fund to the SPV and there will be a matching fund from state governments and local bodies,” the Union Minister said.
According to him, the local bodies should be “bold enough” to take tough decisions such as increasing user fees wherever required.
Taking a dig at political parties, he said regardless of party in power, no civic body is willing to increase charges fearing a backlash from the public.
“Smart city requires smart leader, vision and should be able to take tough decisions, and ensure people’s participation. Then only this (smart city concept) will become successful,” he opined.
Smart City is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious project aimed at recasting the urban landscape of the country by making cities more livable and inclusive, besides driving the economic growth. Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao, Telangana Minister for Information Technology and Panchayat Raj, and Pratap Padode, Founder and Director, Smart Cities Council India, also spoke at the event.
Rao said the Telangana Government proposes to piggyback the 1.25 lakh km proposed “Water Grid” project pipelines to lay optic fibre cable so as to provide broadband access to all households in the State.