Only 98 cities instead of 100 announced: All questions answered about smart cities project Business News


The Centre today announced the names of 98 cities selected for the Modi government's flagship Smart Cities project but Bengaluru and Patna don't figure in the list. The names of the cities selected for the Rs 48,000 crore Smart Cities project was released by the Centre pending a nomination each from Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ambitious project with announcement of criteria and guidelines for 100 Smart Cities to be selected through

What is a smart city? According to the government, some features of smart cities are promoting mixed land use in area based developments; housing and inclusiveness; creating walkable localities; preserving and developing open spaces; promoting a variety of transport options; making governance citizen-friendly and cost effective; giving an identity to the city; and applying smart solutions to infrastructure and services in area-based development. Which are the cities in the list? The major cities include: Vishakhapatnam, Guwahati, Chandigarh, NDMC, Panaji, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Surat, Mangaluru, Hubballi-Dharwad, Kochi, Navi Mumbai, Nasik, Thane and Greater Mumbai. The list includes 13 cities from Uttar Pradesh, 12 cities from Tamil Nadu, 10 from Maharashtra, seven from Madhya Pradesh, three from Bihar and three from Andhra Pradesh. Check out the full list here. As per the profile of the selected cities, 35 cities and towns have a population between one and five lakh. There are 21 cities with population ranging between five and 10 lakh; 25 cities have population of above 10 lakh and below 25 lakh. A set of five cities are in the population range of 25 to 50 lakhs. Four cities - Chennai, Greater Hyderabad, Greater Mumbai and Ahmedabad have population of about above 50 lakh each. Why is it only 98 and not 100 as per the original plan? Jammu & Kashmir has to nominate one city and more information is sought from the Uttar Pradesh government about the 13th smart city that is yet to be announced. This is the reason why the list is two short of 100, which was the original project. The reason why Jammu & Kashmir has sought more time is, according to PTI report, the state wants both Jammu and Srinagar to be developed as Smart City, though the state has got only one slot in the project. As far as the 13th Uttar Pradesh city is concerned, there are two contenders with both Meerut and Rae Bareli getting equal points. So now the state has to decide whom it wants to nominate, sources told PTI. What next for the shortlisted cities? The next stage is the choosing 20 cities in the first lot by end of the year and the next two years 40 cities each will be selected for receiving Central funding of Rs 500 crore spread over the coming five years. The Centre will release Rs 2 crore for each of the 98 cities in the next couple of days for preparation of Smart City plans. The ministry has drawn up region wise panels of reputed agencies for assisting the cities to prepare Smart City plans. For the selection of 20 cities, the broad criteria will be city vision and strategy, cost effectiveness, credibility of implementation and innovation. According to Naidu, those cities which are not selected in the first round can again participate in the second and third round by improving their performances. Even states can nominate new names after elimination of some cities in the final round of selection, he said. Who will benefit from the Smart City? About 12 crore people will be the direct beneficiaries of the Smart City project. The total population of these proposed 98 Smart Cities is about 12 crore accounting for 35 percent of country's total urban population as per the 2011 census. Which cities missed out? Nine capital cities that could not be nominated for Smart City development are Patna, Itanagar, Shimla, Banglaore, Daman, Thiruvanathapuram, Puducherry, Gangtok and Kohima. What the experts are saying? "Selection of smart cities is first step. Major challenge is to provide quality urban services such as 24X7 water supply, sanitation, drainage, solid waste management, sewage treatment. Looking at finances of urban local bodies, which are far from healthy, provision of these services will be challenging. Levying of user charges to recover cost of provision of these services will be crucial to maintain quality of these services. In the process of smart cities focus should not divert from providing urban services in other cities and make them more liveable," said Devendra Kumar Pant, Chief Economist at India Ratings & Research. "The announcement is a positive step forward. The next step would be to identify the first set of 20 cities that will get Rs 500 crore of budgetary support. This money is only seed funding to jumpstart the process of transformation of Indian cities. It would be critical to also transform the governance structure at the city level to enable a sustainable city transformation," said Jaijit Bhattacharya, partner, Infrastructure and Government Services, KPMG India. "We welcome the Centre's decision to set up special purpose vehicles (SPVs) for each Smart City and are confident that these will help define the contours of the upcoming Smart Cities. We are quite upbeat that the Rs 3 lakh crore allocated by the government for this mission will induce active participation from all stakeholders," said Anil Chaudhry Schneider, MD & country president, Electric India.

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