23 cities and towns have resubmitted their proposals for Smart City Plans under the ‘Fast Track Competition’ initiative. These revised plans will be evaluated by 15 May, and those meeting the benchmark set by the winning cities in the first round will be provided central assistance for implementing the Smart City Plan.
The 23 cities to re-submit their proposals are Warangal, Chandigarh, Lucknow, New Town Kolkata, Goa, Pasighat, Dharamshala, Faridabad, Raipur, Bhagalpur, Shillong, Namchi, Port Blair, Diu, Oulgaret, Silvassa, Imphal, Ranchi, Agartala, Kohima, Kavaratti and Dehradun. Cities that fail to make it through this round can join the next round of the competition by submitting revised proposals by June end.
Earlier in January, 20 cities had been shortlisted for the Smart Cities Mission. This list was topped by Bhubaneshwar, followed by Pune, Jaipur, Surat and Kochi. Cities eliminated at this stage of the competition had a chance to compete in the next round by upgrading their proposals and submitting them by the 15th of April under the Fast Track Competition.
Loan from World Bank & others: The Ministry of Urban Development has asked the 20 previously selected Smart Cities to present bankable projects for getting loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank and the BRICS Development Bank. The Ministry said that ADB had in principle agreed to extend a loan of $1 billion while the World Bank was willing to extend a loan of $500 million for the implementation of Smart City Mission.
Approval for smart city plan: In August last year, the Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu approved 98 cities of the initially submitted 100 cities, to participate in the Government’s smart city plan for the country. The cities were provided with a December 15 deadline to submit their proposals. The government would then pick the first batch of mission cities for financing this year. According to the minister, these 98 cities covered a population of 13 crore people or around 35% of the urban population.
Each city selected in different rounds of competition will be given central assistance of Rs 200 cr in the first year and Rs 100 cr each during the subsequent three financial years. State governments and respective urban local bodies will provide matching funds to the same amount. Overall, each mission city would get a total assistance of Rs 1,000 cr over a five year period.