Unique Model for Nation Transformation: Smart Governance, Smart City
What is the Smart Cities Mission?
The Smart Cities Mission is one of the flagship schemes of the Government of India, launched by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi in June 2015. As part of the Stage 1 of the mission, the Government announced the list of 98 selected towns and cities chosen for the Smart Cities Mission, India. The Smart Cities Mission is on its way to progress further with Stage 2 underway.
Of those chosen cities for the project, 24 are capital cities, 24 are business hubs and 18 are cultural centres. Each state will get at least one Smart City; and the top 20 cities will be financed in 2016 as part of the first Phase. Over the next five years, Rs. 48,000 Cr (¬ 7.21 Billion USD) will be spent in developing these cities to provide world class infrastructure, sustainable environment and other Smart solutions.
Goals and focus areas of the Smart Cities Mission
Referring to the need of developing Smart Cities, the Prime Minister said that it would provide more than what a citizen expects. “Before they want it, we will provide it".
In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a Smart City contains a wish list of infrastructure and services that describes his or her level of aspiration. To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, this mission aims at developing the entire urban eco-system; which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development-institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure.
Development of Smart Cities in India shall focus on their most pressing needs, and on the greatest opportunities to improve lives of its citizens. They will adopt a range of approaches such as digital and information technologies, urban planning best practices, public-private partnerships, and policy changes – to make a difference.
The Smart cities mission approach can be defined through the following two core elements:
To promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions.
The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities.
The Smart Cities Mission undertaken by the Government is a bold, new initiative. It is meant to set examples that can be replicated both- within and outside the Smart City, catalysing the creation of similar Smart Cities in various regions and parts of the country. The vision is to enable higher quality of life and vibrant economic climate by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a mean to create Smart outcomes for its citizens.
The Mission’s focus areas can be broken down into the following:
1. The Pan City initiative
envisages a city wide application of at least one Smart solution.
2. Step-by-step Area development
using three models of area based development:
City Improvement (Retrofitting)
City Renewal (Redevelopment)
City Extension (Greenfield)
The chosen Smart Cities are expected to use new technologies to transform their systems, operations and service delivery in the core areas of:
2. Electrical Supply
3. Health and Education
4. IT Connectivity and Digitalization
5. Sanitation, including Solid Waste Management
6. Safety and Security of citizens
7. Sustainable Environment
8. Urban Mobility and Public Transport
9. Water Supply
10. Affordable Housing, especially for the poor
Steps followed in selecting the Smart Cities:
Stage 1- Letters to all State Governments to shortlist potential Smart Cities based on the Stage 1 criteria according to the number of Smart cities distributed across States/Union Territories by the MoUD. This was the first stage of the Intra-State competition.
Stage 2- Based on the response from States/Union Territories, the list of potential 98 Smart Cities was announced. This marked the beginning of Stage 2 of the All India competition.
Each potential City then prepared its proposal which had been submitted and will be evaluated by a panel of experts.
The Cities selected on the basis of this evaluation will be declared as the Round 1 Smart Cities on 26th January, 2016.
Stage 3- Selected cities will set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and start implementation of their Smart City Proposals (SCP), preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) etc.
Other cities will prepare to improve their proposals for the next round of the Challenge.
The Smart City Mission emphasizes on development of a Smart City Proposal as the co-creation process which results in the evolution of a Plan that reflects Citizen’s consensus, and support for the vision and goals enshrined in the plan.
Key Success Factors for the Smart Cities Mission:
Citizen participation is key in the transformation process. The motto of the Smart City campaign is to “Put People First”, even though this is an area where smart city pilots around the world have tended to perform least well on. While people are the implied beneficiaries of the programs that aim to improve efficiency and reduce waste, they are rarely given a chance to participate in the design or delivery of such projects. These are usually implemented and managed by experts who have only a vague idea of the challenges that local communities face. Engaging citizens is especially important in an Indian context because there have already been several striking examples of failed urban redevelopments that have blatantly lacked any type of community consultation or participation.
‘Smart City’ is not just a technology innovation. It is a people solution, where digital devices are just enablers. Technology can help us engage citizens, increase efficiency, empower sustainability, generate business and above all, improve the quality of life. The mission has laid additional emphasis on Citizen Engagement at each stage, including 10% weightage in the Smart City Proposal (SCP) as part of Stage 2.
DCF’s Contribution in Citizen Participation for the Smart Cities Mission
DCF has been instrumental in conducting the Citizen Engagement programs for Nagpur, Nashik, Pune and Thane. The public response has been tremendous. In Pune, for instance, 34,66,275 votes/inputs have been received on the City’s Smart City Website. 7.5 Lac Smart City forms, covering 87% households were distributed through various Citizen Engagement initiatives. 4.4 Lac filled physical forms were received based on which the analysis was conducted to zero down on the Key initiatives the citizens want the SCP to be built around.
DCF Collaborates with Tel Aviv – Smartest City in the world. DCF has forged a successful collaboration with the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, represented by the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yafo, in helping Indian cities undergo urban transformation as Smart Cities. Tel Aviv won the first prize in the World Smart Cities Award at the Smart City Expo World Congress, Barcelona in 2014. The municipality which continues to enhance smart systems implemented in the city, will now mentor, train, consult and escort Indian city officials in the processes to transform into Smart Cities through this collaboration with DCF.