PM Modi’s smart cities mission needs a “Verghese Kurien solution”; here’s what this expert has to say

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Published: March 2, 2019 10:46:55 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Smart Cities Mission' is on track, believes Debasish Roy, Director General, SmartCitiesNext.

PM Modi's smart cities mission needs a "Verghese Kurien solution"; here's what this expert has to sayThe members of SCN advocate a “Dr Verghese Kurien” to the Smart Cities Mission.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Smart Cities Mission’ is on track, believes Debasish Roy, Director General, SmartCitiesNext. At a recent national executive board meeting of SmartCitiesNext, Roy said that the Modi government is “fully committed” to the Smart Cities Mission. SmartCitiesNext or SCN is a chamber of commerce devoted to the rural-urban connect in India. It focuses on a sustainable model for socio-economic development. According to Roy, the Smart Cities Mission needs to re-look processes to achieve the same the objective.

Interestingly, the members of SCN advocate a “Dr Verghese Kurien” to the Smart Cities Mission. “When approached by the then chairman of the Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Limited, Tribhuvandas Patel, Dr Verghese Kurien insisted that he should be heading the milk federation for life and not be transferred around the state. Dr Kurien wished to bear the rewards or brick bats based on the performance of the milk federation that he headed,” Debashish Roy explained, adding that smart cities need a “lifetime CEO”. This, the members of SCN feel, will be a better solution than having a civil servant, who is transferred every 2-3 years, head the initiative.

Dr Jaijit Bhattacharya, managing director, Zerone Microsystems and formerly Partner, KPMG, who attended the meet is of the view that inclusive finance is important. “Smart cities should now start focussing on inclusive finance and enable the digitally de-monetized to access digital money, in order to be a true smart city,” he said.

Amit Malik, Managing Director, Public Sector & Services, Cisco India & SAARC said that smart Cities are a concept and a state of mind by the creators and the inhabitors. Ananda Chatterjee, Head, Smart Cities, Dell said, “We have to attain numbers in the SmartCities business. Without accumulating revenue, the vision is useless.”

SCN has already pointed out some errors in the bidding process for smart cities to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The government has promised to look into them and the SCN team is preparing a presentation for the government on how smart cities can be developed holistically, keeping in mind the needs of the citizens.

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