While Smartphones are changing the way we live, the concept of Smart cities have been trying to make buzz in India soon the NDA government announced their first budget in July 2014. The concept is to build 100 Smart cities in India by 2022.
We have read many initiatives related the announcement of 100 smart cities across India by the government, but the initial vigour and fast pace have moved to a sluggish pace due to many reasons. This was especially evident in the Union Budget 2015-16, where the government completely ignored any prospects in connection with this project.
Let’s see it here, how smartis the Smart city concept and itsactivities today.
The concept of Smart cities
With increasing urbanization, there is an increasing demand for a smart handling of infrastructure and facilities, to improve the quality of life as well as for an efficient management of expenses and complexities of life. That’s how the concept of self reliant Smart cities came in.
Smart cities are self reliant citieswith good infrastructure such as water, sanitation, reliable utility services, health care, job opportunities and investment opportunities to make citizens feel safe and happy. It is important for all cities to get smarter to meet the rising expectations of the urban population.
As the population grows, more people to cities due to job reasons. So, the cities need to be more efficient for catering to the needs of these increasing urban dwellers. So the core concept behind Smart Cities is to improve the quality of people’s life, build efficient infrastructure and jobs opportunities and thereby to revitalise the country’s economy.
The current status
The Cabinet meeting held in the mid of May 2015 has approved the smart cities project. As per official reports, about 48,000 crore rupees (US$ 7.75 billion) need to be spent over the next five years to build 100 smart cities in India. And already, Rs. 6000 crores have been invested for the development of these cities. Two smart city projects has been initiated so far- one at the Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR), and other-Gujarat International Financial Tec (GIFT) City.
Under the government’s programme, each selected city will be getting an assistance of Rs 100 crore annually for five years from the central government. Each state can suggest cities to be developed under this proposal and the centre will be short listing the ones.
NASSCOM has predicted that the programme can create around $30-40 billion business opportunities for the IT sector alone within the next 10 years.
But it is a fact that we are still struggling to get a good definition for these Smart cities and have been devising plans, taking cues from cities around the world. Frost & Sullivan, a leading advisory firm has commented thatthere are eight parameters the government should consider for a Smart city. They are“governance, energy, homes and buildings, mobility, infrastructure, technology, healthcare, and citizen”.Various corporate, investors and ministries are coming together to put their heads together to ensure the success of this massive project.
The project is possessed with a number of challenges. The major ones are the challenges of area, transportation, water, environment and public safety.
As per a latest government report, it is said that the world’s urban population will be doubled by 2050 – which means we’re adding the seven cities equivalent to New Delhi, to our planet every year. So urbanization too needs to be in pace with this. But whether the Smartcities will be a reality as planned or just a ripe dream is still to be found.