According to a recent report by the Smart Cities Council India, traditional cities with unauthorised colonies, slum clusters, poor transportation, inadequate water and electricity supply, narrow roads, lanes and by-lanes, are going to transform rapidly, after the Smart City plan is implemented.
The overall progress suggests that the 20 winning cities from the first round of the Smart City Mission have already formed Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). In addition, four of the 13 winning cities in the second round have moved ahead with the formation of SPVs. Those cities are: Panaji, Chandigarh, Port Blair and Lucknow, and the remaining are in the last stage of forming SPVs.
Meanwhile, most cities are ready with Production Management Contracts (PMCs), and projects across all these cities are likely to start by December this year. Visakhapatnam, Pune, Jaipur, Surat, Bhubaneswar, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Udaipur are leading the pack, with several projects in the bidding stage.
For India, it’s a good sign. The narrative of Smart Cities through various forums advocates that now, each city is in the race to become “sufficiently” smart, that can arrest the periodical issues faced by their residents. Hence, the announcement of 27 new Smart Cities under the Smart City Mission is another step in this direction.
With this, the number of cities selected under the Smart City Mission for financing implementation of Smart City plans has gone up to 60.
The Golden Temple city of Amritsar topped the list of 27 new Smart Cities announced by the Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu.
So what was so special in the current list? Of 27 cities, eight were pilgrim and tourist cities, including Ujjain, Tirupati, Agra, Nashik, Madurai, Thanjavur, Ajmer and Varanasi.
According to Parveen Jain, President, NAREDCO, “Inclusion of cities like Agra, Amritsar, Ujjain, Varanasi, Tirupati and Vellore, etc., will boost the tourism sector.”
For private players in this space, the announcement of the next 27 Smart Cities is another great step in the right direction for enhancing Indian Cities.
Says, Guy Perry, President - Cities + Strategy, Essel Infra & Utilities, "It is now a more thoroughly country wide endeavour. I hope, this new tranche of winners will focus on improvements that I would deem to be “wise” in addition to smart."
He added: "Many cities need to focus beyond incrementally improving aspects of their infrastructure, but to reconsider strategic priorities to ensure that they are liveable, attractive, efficient and sustainable for human beings."
The 27 Smart Cities announced are from 12 states, including five from Maharashtra, four each from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, three from Uttar Pradesh and two each from Punjab and Rajasthan. Nagaland and Sikkim have made it to the Smart City list for the first time. Stating that the Smart City Mission is running ahead of schedule, Naidu informed that the next round of competition to select the remaining 40 cities would begin in January next year.
The minister informed that the new 27 Smart Cities have proposed an investment of Rs 66,883 crore under Smart City plans including Rs 42,524 crore under Area Based Development and another Rs 11,379 crore for technology-based Pan-city solutions that will benefit all the citizens of the respective cities. With this, the total investment proposed by the 60 cities selected so far has gone up to Rs 144,742 crore.
NAREDCO, the apex body of builders and developers, sees immense opportunities for the real estate industry in transforming cities like Agra, Ajmer, Amritsar, Aurangabad, Gwalior, Hubli-Dharwad, Jalandhar, Kalyan-Dombivili, Kanpur, Kohima, Kota, Madurai, Mangaluru, Nagpur, Namchi, Nashik, Rourkela, Salem, Shivamogga, Thane, Thanjavur, Tirupati, Tumakuru, Ujjain, Vadodara, Varanasi, and Vellore.
Meanwhile, Safra Catz, CEO, Oracle Corporation, in her recent visit to India said, “We are thrilled to further our commitment in India by working with the government to help position India as a world-class design and manufacturing epicenter.”
She added: “The Cloud Center of Excellence powered by Oracle will play a key role in improving the lives of people.”
“The Smart Cities initiatives by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) are revolutionary in an evolutionary phase. The industry has a key role to play in the entire Smart City project conceptualisation through implementation and management,” says Sudhir Aggarwal, Vice President & Head - Government Relations, Thomson Reuters South Asia Pvt Ltd.
According to Rohini Polisetty (Director R&D), Votary Tech, after the crimes against women saw a rise, there were a lot of suggestions for safety measures coming in from all quarters.
“The current Smart City programme allowed us to apply our technological expertise to create a smart preventive safety solution to secure the citizens. Apart from making women feel safe, our aim is also to reduce commute inconvenience experienced by them on a daily basis,” says Polisetty.
According to Sridhar Gadhi, CEO, Paradigm Mtuity, India is one of the first countries moving from pilot/small Smart City implementations to citywide full-blown implementations. “We are looking forward to bring our experience of pilots in India to scalable projects,” he added.
The 27 cities selected in the latest round of the Smart City Challenge competition in order of the marks scored by them are: