The emergence of the idea of smart city ought to be seen in the backdrop of the need to contain corruption and meet the requirement of adequate and efficient service delivery in urban areas using information and digital technologies.
DEFINING SMART CITIES:
There is no definite definition of smart city but the basic question is what we want the smart city to be. We may define smart cities as those where smart people live. There are two ways of defining smart people:
In a similar vein, the smart city is not an isolated enclave or a gated city but a city that connects with people and transforms their lives. Thus, while cities transform people, people make cities.
The US office of Scientific and Technical Information defines it as “that monitors and integrates conditions of its critical infrastructures, better optimize its resources, plans its maintenance activities and monitor security aspects while maximizing services”.
The department of business innovation and skills U.K defines it as “a process or series of steps by which cities become more “livable” and resilient and hence is able to respond quicker to new challenges.”
WHY DO WE NEED SMART CITIES?
To develop an urban environment which fosters innovation and expands employment opportunities.
To improve the current deteriorating status of public service delivery in India.
Cities are the principle drivers of growth and structural transformation as investors in industries and services look for urban space to garner economies of agglomeration so, both market forces and government policies together can bring out a smart solution.
Inadequate infrastructure of urban roads, public transport, water and sanitation, unaffordable housing calls for quick work upon the smart city idea.
The fortunes of the rural sector are also critically linked to the quality of urbanization because income per head in agriculture can increase if people move out of agriculture into “higher productivity” jobs in industry and services. This shift depends upon the ability of cities to provide a congenial environment for innovation and enterprise which will generate employment.
SMART CITIES MISSION:
It will cover 100 cities during the 5 year period from 2015-16 to 2019-20. It may be extended depending upon the evaluation by Ministry of Urban Development.
Mission aims to harness the potential of the city which aspires to become smart through smart solutions (e-governance, electronic service delivery, video crime monitoring, smart meters for water supply management, smart parking and intelligent traffic management systems etc.)
The implementation of smart cities mission will be carried out by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) headed by a full time CEO with nominees of centre, state and local governments.
The SPV will be a limited company under Companies Act, 2013 at the city level.
At the city level, a smart city advisory forum will be established for all 100 smart cities to advise and enable collaboration among various stakeholders and will include the District Collector, MP, MLA, and Mayor, CEO of SPV, local youth and technical experts.
The central Government will provide Rs 194 crore as a grant initially with an equal matching grant from the state government. The future grants to the smart city would depend upon performance.
100 smart cities have been selected based on competition inviting Smart City Proposal. A large number of consulting firms as well as handholding agencies will be engaged in different stages of smart city development.
The smart cities will not only emerge as sites of production and efficient governance but also sites of consumption in the event of this, it is likely to spur economic growth and improve quality of life of its citizens.
SMART CITIES MISSION IS CONVERGENCE OF:
Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM),
National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY),
Housing for all for holistic development of cities
FOUNDATIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR A SMART CITY:
EXISTING PLATFORMS ENABLING THE SMART CITY INITIATIVE IN RIGHT DIRECTION:
ROADBLOCKS ON THE WAY TO SMART CITIES:
Inclusiveness has been the biggest challenge for any urban development programme along with growth and sustainability.
Development of smart cities in such a way that they fulfill the requirements of the time and at the same time be climate change resilient and sustainable in nature.
Lack of skill set of individuals and unapt capacity of institutions to manage the change. New technologies and new way of functioning would require new knowledge and skills.
Insufficient devolution of finances to the local governments to perform actively.
Keeping the smart cities secure and disaster free.
Citizens are central to the success of this programme. The administration must create avenues for citizen participation, this would make citizens own the city and become the part of decision making.
Providing high-tech solutions in smart cities will require information, education and communication (IEC) to change citizen’s behavior and response.
Growth of the housing sector is the key to success of the smart city mission since housing has backward and forward linkages with hundreds of industries and can boost employment at an unimaginable pace thus, becoming the driver of economic as well as social growth.
The local governments should be given greater autonomy in raising resources especially for property tax collection and user charges. Municipal functionaries should be the employees of the cities and not state government posted to the cities to increase sense of accountability towards the cities.
Tackling poverty in such a way that it gives an impetus to the mission while being self destructive by creating employment opportunities, housing facilities and shortening the social divide.
States should be incentivized to transfer some functions to the local bodies, by doing this local governments would become more responsible and valuable.
Planning activity should be conducted through discussions between civil bodies and municipal bodies.
Requirement of imparting sector specific, demand driven skills to the ever increasing youth of the country to play a major role in development and functioning of smart cities.