Chief Ministers and civic authorities are in anxious mode. Twenty cities will be selected in January end and they will become the first lot of 97 cities on their way towards transforming themselves into being smart.
The remaining 77 applicant-cities will go back to the drawing board to enhance their potential and plan better to qualify in the next phase of selection.
The stakes are high as each selected city will get Rs 2 billion every year for the next five years. Rs 1 billion will be given by the Central government annually and the remaining will come from contributions by the concerned state. In all, each city will get Rs 10 billion in the next five years to enter the category of Smart Cities.
“The larger cities have had exposure to such plans and projects. It is the smaller ones that are seeing a revolution in introspection,” says Pratap Padode, Founder & Director, and Smart Cities Council India.
“India is likely to spend $50 billion on Smart Cities in the next five years. Of this, a sum of $35 million has already been provided for 100 smart cities for making city development plans. Further, in 2016-17, $600 million will be spent directly by the cities by issuing request for proposals,” adds Padode.
However, according to experts, smaller cities in the race will have bigger hurdles to face, but there are solutions as well. The major area of concern is execution.
Many multinational corporations and countries have shown interest in helping some cities as the projected benefits are very high.
A high-powered expert committee on investment has estimated that in urban infrastructure development the per-capita investment cost could be in the range of Rs 43,386 for a 20-year period.
Taking an average figure of 1 million people in each of the 100 Smart Cities, the total estimate of investment requirement for turning smart comes to annual Rs 3500 billion.