While states are competing among themselves to get the Smart City tag, there is still vagueness about what these are. The only point on which there seems to have consensus is that they will be driven by information and communication technologies. There will be more technology intensive systems in place.
About 31 per cent of India’s urban population contributes to 60 per cent of GDP. This is expected to rise to 75 per cent in the next 15 years, analysts have said.
These engines of economic growth are made more ‘smart’ through technologies. Governance will become more transparent and the gap between execution of approved plans and programmes could be done in a time-bound manner. There will be optimal efficiency that would help cut costs and remove corruption and inefficiency.
In such circumstances, citizens can hope to see accelerated economic growth and better delivery of government services. Smart Cities, therefore, are about improved liveability that is made possible through technology-driven governance to speed up economic growth with more people’s participation in governance.
However. to build Smart Cities in India the government should ensure effective and efficient infrastructure, which at present is woefully inadequate, underdeveloped and creaky. Once these issues are addressed, there is no double that investments will start flowing.
Smart Cities are those which have smart (intelligent) physical, social, institutional and economic infrastructure. Quality of life, employment and investment opportunities would define the competitiveness of a city. The degree of competitiveness will decide the smartness of the city.
Experts vow that competitiveness attracts the best talent. Besides it will ensure creation of more employment opportunities and investments. The ease of doing business will contribute to development of an ecosystem whose focus will be overall improvement in the quality of life of residents.
Quality of life includes safety and security, inclusiveness, entertainment, ease of seeking and obtaining public services, cost-efficient healthcare, quality education, and opportunities for participation in governance.