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Smart Cities Need Focus on Affordable Healthcare-Urban Minister
Dec 11, 2015

Mr. Babul Supriya, Minister of State for Urban Development, Government of India has invited suggestions from private sector  for integrating healthcare into the setting up of smart cities.  These cities, he felt, should have affordable healthcare facilities, which could be accessed by the common man.

Mr. Supriya was addressing at the CII Health Summit in the capital today.   He said that smart cities would  be coming up under the purview of Centre, states and the urban local bodies. The proposal for setting up health facilities in smart cities should emanate from the urban local bodies which then will be funded to state and central Government. These cities will develop on a cost sharing basis and actual implementation would be with urban local bodies.

The Minister said that the healthcare infrastructure  that would come up  in the cities could be ideally on a private-public partnership mode with clearly spelt out  revenue models, particularly when the private sector  involvement was  envisaged  in the secondary and tertiary sectors.  “It should not be a “jan seva; there should be clear cut revenue models to sustain such initiatives”, the Minister added.

The Minister opined that there could be some grey areas  in the implementation of the projects.  The Government, he said, is committed  to ease doing business to take care of many of the initial problems in implementation of the projects, he added. At the same time, he suggested that CII may submit a brief note as to what should be the plan of action expected from the Government in implementing these projects so that a dialogue can be initiated among the stakeholders for resolving such issues in a time-bound manner.

The Minister said that the main beneficiary of the health projects  to be implemented in the smart cities should be the “aam aadmi” and ways and measures have to be found out how his/her interest,  particularly in the health related areas, are taken care of not only in the 100 smart cities which are coming up but also in the 500 other cities and towns which would be modernized as a part of the large framework of the smart city program.

Responding to a point made by Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman, CII Healthcare Committee, regarding the availability of funds for integrating healthcare aspects into  smart cities under the CSR scheme, the Minister said  there was no dearth of funds; but what was important  was how these funds are being spent.  He also said that the concept of smart cities should be explained to people in a language they understand so that they would become an active stakeholder in the development process.

New Delhi
11th December 2015

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