Smart City Initiative: India


The fundamental purpose of the Smart Cities Mission is to generate sustainable economic growth and adequately improve the quality of life of its residents by providing local area development and applying technology that will ensure better and smart outcomes. The underlying idea is to retrofit and redevelop existing areas and slums into better and more planned areas in addition to new areas. As per census of 2011 a little more than 30% of India population lives in urban area. It is expected that this percentage will reach 40% in next 10-15 years. Currently the urban population of India contributes around 60-65% of India’s GDP and will rise by 10-15% in next 10-15 years. With this rapid growth and urbanization it is important that adequate development plans are in place and implemented. This can only be achieved by developing physical, social, economic and institutional infrastructure. To work in this direction government of India under ministry of urban development has taken by a challenging Smart Cities initiative.

It is surprising and interesting to know that there is no single universally accepted definition of Smart City. Different institutions and people define it in different ways. This makes the scope of Smart City open and wide. The citizens of the cities can define and implement the Smart City based on their needs and priorities. This makes it very clear that the process of implementation and creation of Smart Cities in western countries cannot be directly taken up and implemented in India.

In its mission of creating Smart Cities the Ministery of Urban Development (MoUD) aims to provide adequate public infrastructure to urban citizens with clean and better quality of living conditions to its citizens. With the success of idea from any one Smart City the best practices can be taken and implemented in other Cities where ever possible. As per MoUD the basic infrastructure areas in their approach will include –

  • Adequate arrangements and water supply in Cities
  • Adequate arrangements and electricity supply in Cities
  • Adequate arrangements for management of sanitation facilities in Cities
  • Adequate arrangements of solid waste management in Cities
  • Adequate arrangements so roads and connectivity in Cities
  • Adequate arrangements of public transportation in Cities
  • Adequate arrangement of affordable housing for all in Cities, focusing more on poor’s
  • Adequate implementation and arrangements of digitization and IT connectivity
  • Adequate arrangements and environment for good governance particularly e-Governance with maximum citizens participation
  • Adequate maintenance and sustainable environment
  • Adequate arrangements of security and safety of all the citizens of Cities, especially women, children’s and senior citizens
  • Adequate arrangements of hospitals and healthcare facilities
  • Adequate arrangements of educational facilities

There is a need to find various smart solutions that will complement the above broad areas like – ensuring that smart meters are installed for all the water connections in city and necessary actions are taken to remove leakages and mechanism in place to continuous monitoring the quality of water. Similarly smart meters should be installed for all the electricity connections in the city. There should enough study done to identify renewal source of energy specific to the need of the city and ensuring that energy utilization is efficiently management to get better efficiency and loses. In addition the goal should also be on creating green buildings. With the increase in need of vehicle parking the concept of smart parking should be created. Traffic should be managed intelligently based on the peak hours need. Various possibilities should be identified and implement transportation based on the width of roads for public transportation to reach to even the deep internal places in the cities. There should be arrangements of trade centers, markets, skill development centers and online education and medical facilities. Recycling of waste, water should be managed efficiently. Proper arrangements should be in place for – public information, grievance reporting and actions on them, installation of cameras in key locations to monitor crime and accidents, maximization of citizen engagement etc.

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