The government on Thursday unveiled names of the first 20 smart cities that will get Rs 50,802 crore over five years to turn them into ‘Smart Cities’. The cities will be given funds to solve problems from power cuts to poor sanitation to traffic. The cities chosen are Pune, Jaipur, Surat, Bhubaneswar, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Jabalpur, Visakhapatnam, Solapur, Davangere, Indore, the New Delhi area, Coimbatore, Kakinada, Belgaum, Udaipur, Guwahati, Chennai, Ludhiana and Bhopal.
The names were picked from a list of 97 cities submitted by states during a competition last year. The choices were judged on service levels, infrastructure and track record.
“The Smart City initiative will be a game changer in raising the standard of infrastructure in the cities in the country. It will focus on actionable projects, and the thinking is long-term and holistic. Adequate attention is paid to sustainability, infrastructure and improving the life of inhabitants,” Shubhranshu Pani, managing director – infrastructure services, JLL India said.
What are Smart cities
According to government website on Smart cities(https://smartcities.gov.in/), there is no universally accepted definition of a smart city. It means different things to different people. In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a smart city contains a wish list of infrastructure and services that describes his or her level of aspiration.
Smart cities are projected to be equipped with basic infrastructure and will offer a good quality of life through smart solutions. Assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, robust IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation along with safety of its citizens are some of the likely attributes of these smart cities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his vision to set up 100 smart cities across India soon after his government came into power in 2014.
“Foreign investment, in terms of funds and expertise need to be encouraged as these would play a valuable role in the formation of smart cities in India. Going ahead, the shortlisted cities would require to fine tune and detail their proposals to establish their efficacy and begin implementation, ” Sanjay Dutt, managing director, India, Cushman & Wakefield said.
What makes a city smart?
According to Kishor Pate, CMD of Amit Enterprises Housing, there are certain counts on which the performance of any city depends: its economy, its population and the social conditions they live in, and its environment. But there is yet another factor that plays a large role in the performance of a city – namely its leaders. A smart city has smart, innovative and resourceful people at the helm.
For countries like India and for the leaders who govern this country and plan our cities, not only accommodating the huge inward migration from the urban areas but also a life worth living has become a huge challenge.
“The inherent qualities of such a smart leadership are that it achieves and maintain smart growth, does more with less and is able to win support for change. A city that doesn’t change is dumb, not smart. Smart city leaders will consistently and successfully push for change”, says Kishor Pate.
Smart growth is an outcome of strategic and well-planned approach.
Kishor Pate lists out these 5 points that makes a city smart:
1. While planning a city, it is essential to keep the needs and demands of its population, now and in the future
2. A forward-looking infrastructure support and timely technological interventions are required
3. A smart city has smart, innovative and resourceful people at the helm
4. People should be able to benefit from urbanization without having to wrestle with aging infrastructure and lack of amenities.
5. Safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly