With the Tamil Nadu Government submitting 12 Smart Cities plan to the Ministry of Urban Development, the total submission under the Smart City Mission has risen to 97 cities.
Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir are still to nominate one city each for inclusion in the Smart City Mission. Telangana wants to replace Hyderabad by another city.
The Ministry has already begun processing and evaluating city level Smart City Plans by three teams of two experts each, one foreigner and one Indian. The teams have been given one month — December 16 to January 16 — to complete the evaluation and ranking process. The average marks given by these teams will be used for the ranking.
At the end of evaluation of the projects under City Challenge competition, the committee will pick the first batch of Smart Cities to be financed during this financial year 2015-2016.
The Ministry has set a cap of 20 such cities to be financed during this financial year and 40 each during the next two years.
“Moreover, out of 97 cities, nine have proposed setting up of control and command centres for monitoring the city’s traffic and water supply, six cities have proposed smart apps for citizens, five cities have proposed providing Wi-Fi, six cities have suggested smart corridors, and four cities have suggested GIS mapping of smart solutions,” the official added.
An official press release said selection will be based on objective criteria of total urban population and number of statutory urban local bodies besides urban poor in each state. This selection criteria would put an end to discretion and subjectivity.
“Government has reset the parameters for urban planning in the year 2015 and has approved an investment of about Rs 42,000 crore in 2015 for developing basic urban infrastructure and for affordable housing alone.
This includes Rs 19,170 crore for improving infrastructure relating to water supply, sewerage networks, storm water drains, urban transport and open spaces in 474 cities in 18 states under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), launched in June this year,” the release said.
“In pursuit of enabling urban areas as more effective engines of high rate of economic growth besides making them more liveable, the government has put an end to ad-hocism in urban planning and resource allocation under new urban sector initiatives,” the official note said.
Under AMRUT, a detailed infrastructure gap analysis has been made mandatory for formulating Service Level Improvement Plans (SLIP) for each of the mission cities for allocation of central assistance under new urban sector initiatives.
Unlike in the past, urban local bodies and state governments have been empowered to appraise and approve projects with the Ministry of Urban Development completely withdrawing from the same, the release added.