27 new cities and towns have been selected under the Government’s Smart Cities mission, reports the Economic Times. This is the 3rd list of Smart Cities to get funding from the Centre for initiating digital reforms.
The cities include Agra, Ajmer, Amritsar, Aurangabad, Gwalior, Hubli-Dharwad, Jalandhar, Kalyan-Dombivali, Kanpur, Kohima, Kota, Madurai, Mangalore, Nagpur, Namchi, Nashik, Rourkela, Salem, Shivamogga, Thane, Thanjavur, Tirupati, Tumakuru, Ujjain, Vadodara, Varanasi and Vellore.
Under the Smart Cities mission, the Government will develop overall 100 cities in the next 3 years. 20 cities were selected in January this year, including Pune, Jaipur, Surat and Kochi. 23 additional cities and towns had resubmitted their proposals under the ‘Fast Track Competition’ initiative in April, of which 13 were selected in May. This takes the total number of cities selected to 60, with the rest of the 40 cities to be picked by January next year.
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.