Smarting under doubt
Even after the announcement of the names of the first 20 urban areas that will be developed as Smart Cities, there are many who still question the wisdom of the government’s 100 Smart Cities Mission. They are not yet ready…

Even after the announcement of the names of the first 20 urban areas that will be developed as Smart Cities, there are many who still question the wisdom of the government’s 100 Smart Cities Mission.

They are not yet ready to believe the government’s proposal for the integrated development of cities using smart technologies with well-equipped infrastructure that offers efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT connectivity and e-governance mechanisms.

Perhaps they may review their stand after seeing the progress being achieved by the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Company Ltd. GIFT, as it is known, is one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken in the Indian Infrastructure space and is being designed as a hub for the global finance services industry.

Some critics will still say that Indians have a tendency to ‘blindly’ import models of modernisation, such as the ‘smart’ city claim of Singapore. What GIFT is doing is much more than that Singapore has accomplished within the limitations imposed by Indian rules and regulations, although these are getting relaxed.

A gentleman writing in a newspaper said Singapore could achieve and sustain clean roads and banished even bird-droppings by planting trees that did not attract birds.

The writer asks whether in India, where public defecations and wandering cows on congested roads are common, how the government would build swanky Smart Cities.

This gentleman should visit Delhi Metro and take a train ride. Since its commissioning in 2002, it has been carrying two million passengers a day. The metro stations are clean and tidy like in Singapore that the writer extols.

It boils down to the fact that if clean and sustainable environment is provided with proper supervision, Smart Cities will remain ‘smart’ as the planners intended.

People will get educated how to maintain these as clean when there is sufficient deterrent punishment for wrongdoers.

Dumping all Indians as uncouth and undesirable elements reflects the writer’s self-demeaning mindset inherited from former colonial masters. It is such people who put a drag on Indi’s aspiration for growth and development. It also demonstrates the writer’s lack of self-confidence.

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