Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs, Mr Hardeep Singh Puri said that Smart City Centres are helping in improved and efficient delivery of services that are provided by the government, while speaking at a consultative committee meeting in Surat, Gujrat.
In an official press release, the Ministry stated that the Smart City Centre project that was launched on 25 June 2015 is a component of the Smart City Mission that will make the delivery of public services more efficient.
Smart Cities are designed to improve quality of life, generate employment and to increase the efficiency of local bodies, public services, and the overall management of city infrastructure, using technology.
During the meeting, representatives of Smart Cities from Surat, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Pune, Visakhapatnam, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and Bhubaneshwar discussed the progress made by the projects in their cities such as, Smart Class Rooms in Visakhapatnam and NDMC, Social Equity Centres in Bhubaneshwar, the Mayor's Express in Bhopal, and the Disaster Resilience Mechanisms adopted in smart cities located in coastal areas.
According to the press release, nine Integrated Control and Command Centres (ICCC) - at Ahmedabad, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur, Pune, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara and Bhopal have become operational. Indian cities are becoming cleaner due to the monitoring of cleaning work through CCTV cameras that have led to a reduction in litter, and the burning of garbage etc. The Intelligent Transit Management System has helped the city of Ahmedabad increase efficiency by reducing its operational cost while simultaneously improving service.
Around 1350 projects worth IN ₹50,000 crore (approximately US $7.3 billion) have been tendered in the Smart City Mission initiative, of which work has begun or been completed in 950 projects costing IN ₹30,675 crore (approximately US $4.5 billion). The Ministry has invited tenders for another 400 projects with an outlay of about IN ₹20,000 crore (approximately US $2.9 billion).
Other projects being implemented in the mission are Smart Roads for the optimum utilisation of space and to add universal accessibility in 31 cities; 47 cities are implementing more than 120 mW (mega Watt) of solar projects to promote the production of clean energy.
A primary aim of the mission is to improve the quality of public waterbodies like riverfronts, city lakes, and ponds. Smart City Centres also provide technological support to create safer streets as they enable faster responses and better preparedness for emergencies and disasters.
Mr Hardeep Puri said that it is important for Urban Local Bodies (municipal corporations) to be financially independent and self-sufficient to increase development. He noted that the Ministry has also started a campaign for credit rating, which has been completed in 412 cities, out of which 155 cities have been given "investment grade", which means its municipal corporation has a relatively low risk of default or not being able to pay interest or principal on a loan or security when required.
Mr Hardeep Puri stated that for the Smart City mission, municipal organisations need to leverage their financial resources by municipal bonds, value capture finance, Public-Private Partnership (PPP),multilateral loans, etc. He added that 98 projects costing IN ₹6,000 crore (US $879 million) have been implemented through Public Private Partnership (PPP). PPP projects are doing well not only in the metropolitan cities but even in the smaller towns.
This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.