Captivating a new horizon, the ministry led my Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced 3 years ago his vision to set up 100 smart cities across the country.  The mission grabbed more headlines than any of its predecessors and the race began among the listed cities. The 100 smart cities mission intends to promote adoption of smart solutions for efficient use of available assets, resources and infrastructure.

What is a ‘smart city’?

Descending from level zero, acity equipped with basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment through application of some smart solutions refer a Smart City.

With what basic infrastructure

Public information, grievance redressal, electronic service delivery, citizens’ engagement, waste to energy & fuel, waste to compost, 100% treatment of waste water, smart meters & management, monitoring water quality, renewable source of energy, efficient energy and green building, smart parking, intelligent traffic management system.

How a Smart City is funded?

Each of the 20 cities that are selected will receive Rs 200 crore in the first year followed by Rs 100 crore each over the next three years from the Centre. States to contribute an equivalent amount. The cities need to involve the private sector in PPP plans, too. This will be by raising user charges to meet the expense incurred. In the future, there could be municipal bonds as well.

The involvements & step taken

According to a government statement in May, 2018 – 1,333 projects under the smart cities program worth a total 506.26 billion rupees had either been completed or were in the implementation/tendering stage. These projects include the development of roads, water, solar networks and public spaces. For critics of the program, this is not enough. They demand more rapid progress and better utilisation of funds.

The three major issues that have emerged in multiple stakeholder deliberations is the financing of cities, technical capacity of implementors, and the sustainability of the mission beyond the envisaged timelines. These challenges point to a need for pilot projects and model solutions to explore viability and adoption challenges.

As more cities move into implementation, it is important to look at sustainability of the solutions which are getting implemented, multiplicity of financial models and execution strategies, and a solid monitoring mechanism to enhance transparency and ensure accountability.

The Smart Cities in Action

The 90 cities that were approved to be the part of the change only 31 could complete the action. The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) leads the chart with 23 completed projects, followed by Varanasi (16) and Raipur (10).

Centre of Excellence for Governance, Ethics and Transparency (CEGET)

Centre of Excellence for Governance, Ethics and Transparency (CEGET) at Global Compact Network India (GCNI) realises that building of Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11) requires partners who are committed to a long haul.

The 10 pillars of GCNI-CEGET Framework for Governance of SmartCities runs through the entire chain of the project implementationand supporting structures as depicted in the Figure below.

  1. Establish definition of Smart City with all Services, Solutions and Products
  2. Develop Smart City Components, Master Plan and Roll out plan
  3. Align with Existing Guidelines and Best Practices
  4. Define and develop sustainable Business/Financial Models/Clarity on funding options and plans
  5. Define and Establish Decision making structures, Responsibility matrix and Accountability with SPV framework
  6. Establish Procurement policies and guidelines, Define Procurement Process and Effective compliance models
  7. Establish clear monitoring and evaluation system – Framework and parameters against timelines and deliverables
  8. Build Capacity of the SPV Officials and Use Project Management Consultant for support
  9. Enable and Ensure extensive industry participation in smart cities with clear deliverables and milestones
  10. Encourage participation and innovation by local industry/Encourage entrepreneurship

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