The proposal for building Smart Cities was mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 as part of ‘Mission Transform Nation’, said Urban Minister Venkaiah Naidu.
In an article, he wrote that the announcement of 20 Smart Cities selected from a list of 97 for funding in the first phase is the first time investment in urban development is being made based on a competition.
Twenty cities are funded in the first phase, 40 in the second phase, and 40 more in the third, making it a total of 100.
The 20 cities in the first stage will get Rs 2000 million in 2015-16 and Rs 1000 million each year for the next three years, the total amounting to Rs 5000 million.
All 97 cities were given Rs 20 million by the Centre to make their Smart City plan proposals with technical assistance by national and international agencies. BJP-ruled states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Goa could not make it into the top 20. This speaks of the unbiased nature of the selection system, Naidu pointed out.
The Smart City Mission marks the beginning of a ‘bottom up’ approach in urban planning. Citizen participation has been mandatory for the preparation of Smart City plans for which a weightage of 16 per cent was given while evaluating the city-level plans. A total of 15.20 million citizens have participated in the preparation of plans at various stages, accounting for about 12 per cent of the total population of the 97 participating cities.
A key element of the Smart City Mission is the use of information and communication technology to leverage citizen participation for urban planning by ensuring constant exchange of information personalised to the citizens’ needs and preferences.
The ministry, in consultation with Bloomberg Technologies, states and urban local bodies, has evolved a template with a set of 43 questions to assess Smart City plans based on merit, irrespective of the size and type of the city or town.
This standardised format enabled the cities and towns to express themselves fully, bringing out distinguishing and unique features of each city, which otherwise may have been missed out.
The competition was based on the implementation framework, including feasibility and cost-effectiveness, which has a weightage of 30per cent, followed by result orientation (20 per cent), citizen participation (16 per cent), smartness of proposal (10 per cent), strategic plan (10 per cent), vision and goals (5 per cent), evidence-based city profiling and key performance indicators (5 per cent), and processes followed (4 per cent).
In these 20 Smart Cities, a total investment of Rs 508.02billion has been proposed during the five-year period. Of the 20 cities, 18 have come forward with retrofitting proposals; one city with both retrofitting and redevelopment, and another to take up only redevelopment.