India: September 12, 2014: The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India has released a concept note on 100 smart cities to be developed across the country.
The 35-page blue print includes various suggestions on operational procedures, approval process for proposals, nature and extent of Central Government support on financing, capacity building, which would be useful for further discussions.
It outlines in detail about the several facilities that would be developed in smart cities including reliable utility services,efficient social infrastructure and a smart transport system, which would restrict the travel time within the city to 30 to 45 minutes, 100 per cent coverage of road network with storm water drainage network and 100 per cent access to toilets.
All smart cities will need to have a master plan valid for the next 10 years in addition to having digitised spatial maps, regularly updated open data platforms, amongst other benchmarks specified in the Annexures of the concept note.
Physical infrastructure such as the urban mobility system, the housing stock, energy system, water supply system, drainage system, solid waste management and sewerage system etc will have to be integrated through the use of geospatial technology.
Universal access to electricity and water 24 X 7 will be a given.
The municipal offices will have to be fully automated so that citizens have the ability to seek and the municipal offices the ability to deliver services in real time, through IT based facilities.
In terms of social infrastructure, good and high quality education, healthcare and entertainment services are essential.
Adoption of energy-efficient and environmentally benign practices in the use of building material, transport system, sewerage and water supply systems, street lighting, air-conditioning systems and energy consumption in buildings will be non-negotiable.
The document also states that a city having a population of up to 40 lakh or more, cities of tourist and religious importance and select cities which have a population of less than 10 lakh and all state and union territory capitals will get an opportunity to nominate a satellite city for the “Smart City” project.
“In Delhi, it is being proposed that DDA will develop a new smart city through the land pooling scheme as a demonstratively and the NDMC area may be considered for demonstrating all the components of smart cities,” the note says.
While a strong citizen participation in decision-making will be crucial for smart cities, a principle of ‘governance by incentives rather than governance by enforcement’ has to be adopted.
A national urbanization policy would be crucial for guiding the national government financial support to smart cities.
The release of concept note is followed by a National Conclave of States and Union Territories, which is being held on Friday, September 12 to invite suggestions on the blue print.
Source: Our correspondent