Revenue Generation and Procurement Agenda
Date: July 1, 2016.
Venue: DLB Conference Hall, Jaipur, Rajasthan
At the recently concluded workshop on ´Revenue Generation and Procurement Agenda´ by the Smart Cities Council India, decision makers and solution providers discussed what cities should do to enable a vibrant city operating platform.
In his opening remarks, Pratap Padode, Founder & Director, Smart Cities Council India, emphasised upon the need for smart and quick solutions for implementation; sustainability; a mechanism in urban local bodies (ULBs) for revenue generation; and error-free and transparent procurement strategies by the newly formed SPVs. Further, a realistic picture of India´s smart city plan was presented by Purshottam Biyani, Director-Local Bodies, Government of Rajasthan. Dr Manjit Singh, Principal Secretary, Government of Rajasthan, explained what the smart city concept means for a state like Rajasthan, underlining that a smart city must take care of basic infrastructure and minimise the losses on public utilities while gaining maximum from them. ¨In the case of Jaipur alone, the financial requirement for implementing 100 per cent water supply, sewerage and drainage system, green areas and public transport would not be less than Rs 15,000 crore,¨ he pointed out.
According to panellist Anil Singhal, Superintendent Engineer, Jaipur Smart Mission, 90 per cent of challenges faced by ULBs are common in nature. His suggestions: ULBs should strengthen public transport in a smarter way rather than handing it to private players; increase road width rather than length to combat traffic congestion; and integrate all project areas under one command centre for better monitoring, management and cost-control. Arunkumar Hasija, Commissioner, Jodhpur Municipal Corporation, shared that his city will tackle increasing groundwater levels with a four-way underground tunnelling system to divert sewage and drainage water to a collecting point where it can be treated for further use. His transportation tip: Construct signal-free elevated roads that can stretch up to 8-9 km with different exit points. According to Priyavrat Pandya, Municipal Commissioner, Ajmer Municipal Corporation, citizen engagement is essential. For instance, while Ajmer´s first smart city proposal was rejected, the fresh proposals saw the participation of around 2.69 lakh citizens. Their first priority was sanitation, with transportation close behind; following which came security and water supply.
Private players offered solutions for revenue generation projects in property tax, water management, waste to power, renewable energy, smart parking, e-governance, smart lighting and water metering. And experts from the Council helped city authorities understand innovative ideas to maximise revenues. Manik Sethi, Manager-Strategic Marketing, Thomson Reuters, presented an integrated land administration solution, explaining how AUMENTUM, an enterprise platform successfully implemented in Cape Town, enables a city corporation to manage land and property ownership rights, mass appraisal valuation processes and property fee or duty collection. Dr Niraj Prakash, Director-Applications Sales Consulting, Oracle India, explained the digital intervention process from the company´s experience in San Francisco and advocated single-point technology intervention with a single digital hub for each state that should not be limited to a particular public utility service. And Rushab Shah, Partner, Responscity, recommended the creation of digital infrastructure on the lines of Vapi, Gujarat, where every house has been equipped with near frequency communication (NFC) sensors and a digital address.
Procurement strategies with focus on integrated development and aggregation, e-auctioning, e-procurement, specification, standardisation, technology, life-cycle costing, transparency, governance and specifications were discussed. The Central Government has advised winning corporations to induct project management consultants (PMCs). Also, an Indian PMC will mandatorily have to form a JV with a foreign PMC to bring in smart city knowhow and increase capacity building. However, Saravana Kumar, CEO, Jaipur Smart Mission, a newly formed SPV, suggested municipal corporations should not blindly follow the suggestions of their PMCs unless they are backed with case studies of technical solutions applied in other cities. Meanwhile, Devesh Shukla, Business Development & Solution Sales, Public Sector, Microsoft, spoke about the likely monetisation of procurement, the importance of ICT for procuring materials for road infrastructure, O&M, end-to-end solutions for citywide project implementation and improving transparency in the overall process. Rajeev Dholakia, AVP-Smart Cities, Essel Infra Projects, advocated elevating the role of an SPV to a contract management and financial organisation with strong monitoring and performance evaluation and the bundling of a fewer number of contracts to minimise managerial tasks at the SPV level.
And Gokul Venkatraman, Business Development Leader, Owens Corning, emphasised that procurement risk can be minimised by proper material selection.