Smart Cities Mission in India: Economic Slowdown can be reversed if the Modi govt takes these steps

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Published: August 29, 2019 2:05:55 PM

The government should restrict the GST band between five per cent minimum and eight per cent maximum so that the country’s economy immediately kicks off with the unorganised sector.

Smart CitiesIndia’s economic slowdown can be reversed in a period of six months with some smart steps.

As India witnesses an economic slowdown, here is some ray of hope for one and all. Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government can reverse the slowdown if some prominent and timely steps are taken in this regard. According to Smart Cities Next, India’s economic slowdown can be reversed in a period of six months with some smart steps. Smart Cities Next is a body advocating policy change for the government’s Smart Cities Mission in the country. During a recent executive committee meeting of the organisation, Debasish Roy, Director General and CEO, Smart Cities Next stated that the following steps can reverse the slowdown in totality:

1. GST Council should peg GST between a band of 5 to 8 per cent:

  • The de-monetization exercise undertaken by the Modi 1.0 government achieved quite a few targets such as obliteration of funding for radical networks, breaking down funding agents of cross border terror activities and few other positives. However, de-monetisation also ensured that it killed off enough honest businesses, which dealt in cash to put a dent in the economy, Debasish Roy believes.
  • This led to owners of small businesses taking up jobs in large organisations such as becoming drivers for cabbie apps or delivery men for e-commerce. This also damaged the Indian economy as the unorganised sector contributes around 50 per cent of India’s GDP growth.
  • Now, as the nation has settled into the GST process, the government should restrict the GST band between five per cent minimum and eight per cent maximum so that the country’s economy immediately kicks off with the unorganised sector. The organised sector is powerless at this point to push forward, he says.

2. Tweak the Smart Cities Mission Policy to the Smart Urban Heart Policy:

  • The Smart Cities Mission was a great initiative by the Modi government announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the year 2014. It ensured that all 99 cities compete against each other to be chosen by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs as a Smart City.
  • However, after five years of the Smart Cities Mission, most of the funds were earned by consulting firms in either preparing a case for the cities being chosen as Smart Cities or for working as the project management consultants (PMCs) for the particular cities. For resolving this, the Union Government must tweak its Smart Cities Mission policy and change it into the Smart Urban Heart Policy, Roy says.
  • Smart Cities Next advocates that consultants should not be paid by the hour or by the day. The consultants should be replaced by turnkey consultants whose payments are linked to completion of projects.

3. Promote and initiate clusters with pre-drawn licenses and clearances:

  • The Union Government has already promoted and successfully achieved some clusters for manufacturing high-technology devices.
  • Now, in this regard, the government needs to replicate the same model model throughout the country as soon as possible for sustained employment of the skilled Indian professionals, he says.
  • A stable employment model is what the country needs for long term planning for engaging manpower along with, increasing export potential.

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