smart city
The 98 cities which the government approved for it’s smart city plan for the country in August have to now submit their plans to the Ministry of Urban Development by 15 December. The government will then pick the first batch of mission cities for financing this year.

Out of 100, these are its weightage parameters:

– 30 for implementation framework (like feasibility and cost effectiveness),

– 20 for result orientation,

– 16 for citizen consultation and identifying goals,

– 10 for smartness of solutions,

– 10 for adoption of SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)

– and 5 each for city vision and goals, quality of city profiling (including identification of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), potential for improvement of city) and 4% for processes followed.

Smart city plans will give 30% weightage to city level criteria, 50% for area based development and 15% for pan city solutions, which was increased from 10% following suggestions from states and urban local bodies, and 1% for citizen engagement. Read more about smart city features here.

Under implementation framework, the government includes feasibility and cost effectiveness of area based development and pan city solutions, which further include a clear financing plan with resource requirements, bankable projects, financial innovation, special purpose vehicles and roles of various institutions.

City level criteria include measures taken in the last 3 years to enhance livability, administrative efficiency, quality of city vision, strategic plan and potential for improvement.

Area development and pan city proposals’ result orientation has adoption of 24 smart city features, outcomes, convergence for resource mobilisation, risk identification and management, spatial impact, economical impact, social and environmental impact. Pan city solutions include the impact of Information & Communication Technologies (I&CT) applications in governance improvement and public service delivery and by when would citizens benefit by these.

Under retrofitting, an area of 500 acres which is already built up, will be considered for addressing existing infrastructure deficits and promotion of smart city features. Under redevelopment, an already built up area of 50 acres will be rebuilt with smart city features, while the minimum area for green field development is 250 acres.

MediaNama’s take:
While the smart city project is an ambitious plan to provide real life upgrades to its citizens, the government should focus on pan city development which currently weighs only 15% as compared to area development, which frankly looks like a lazily doable job at 50%. Areas of retrofitting, where already developed areas will get the benefits of smart city features, will leave the rest of the city pockets feeling high and dry, and possibly enraged, despite the city’s ‘smart city’ status. Ignoring the rest of the city pockets will only serve as a warning of the things to come, given the disparity. Pre-existing issues like traffic jams and high cost of real estate will magnify if pan city development is ignored.

Developments under smart cities: In September, the Pune Municipal Corporation, the local authority of Pune, which is one of the 98 selected cities distributed 350,000 physical forms to societies in the city for its ‘Pune Smart City Challenge- Stage 2’, and collected suggestions from over 125,000 families in a week. In April this year, the Government of India approved the spending of around Rs 1 lakh crore on urban development under two new urban missions to be carried out over the next 5 years.