Ease of living, focus on technology to solve urban issues and greening of cities are the three major focus areas under India’s Smart Cities Mission, said Mr Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development. He was addressing the 6th Growth Net Summit organized by Ananta Center, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Smadja & Smadja in New Delhi.
The Minister added that the number of projects that would be tendered under the Smart Cities mission would reach Rs 50,000 crore by December 2018. Many of the 99 identified cities have selected project management consultants and set up special purpose vehicles. Mr Puri pointed out that usage of technologies would help to bring in behavioural change in the people, including for cleanliness. According to him, in-situ slum development is being targeted to address migration.
The Minister said that already 9 cities have developed Integrated Command and Control Centres and 23 others are under development. The development of these centres would bring huge data that would enable smart decisions.
Mr Puri pointed to two challenges, namely, skill upgradation at the lowest level, and the requirements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development, Singapore, said that technology is key to smart and sustainable development of cities. Singapore is increasingly using technology for urban planning and for mapping underground geography in detail.
The Minister said that in Singapore, underground development is seen as the next frontier and technology is the key to do this. This also enables the city to free up the spaces that can be utilized for better purposes. Singapore is pushing for sustainable development by integrating different utility plants in order to bring in synergy which also would enable optimal utilization of the resources. Singapore has partnered with India for the development of the DMIC corridor and Amravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh.
On the demand side, Singapore is the process of developing a comprehensive development plan for urban transportation to ensure access to metro stations within 400 meters for all residents. Mr Wong informed that City Master plan, integration of various Government Institutions and greater private sector participation are necessary for the comprehensive development of Smart Cities.
Ms Manisha Natarajan, Group Editor, Real Estate and Urban Development, Network 18, said that India’s Smart Cities Mission has made significant progress during the last 8 months. However, challenges related to financing the smart city projects still remains.