THE SMART CITIES MISSION

As the deadline for completing the Smart Cities Mission approaches, the government has asked 20 of the worst performing cities — ones that have completed the fewest projects under the mission — to buck up.

Smart Cities Mission

  • The Smart Cities Mission is an initiative of the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.
  • It was launched in 2015.
  • The Ministry selected 100 cities for the Mission.
  • The projects were supposed to be completed within five years of the selection of the city, but in 2021 the Ministry changed the deadline of all cities to June 2023.

Projects under the mission:

  • The project proposals ranged from making certain stretches of roads more accessible and pedestrian-friendly to the more capital-intensive ones like laying water pipelines and constructing sewage treatment plants.
  • All 100 cities have also constructed Integrated Command and Control Centres to monitor all security, emergency and civic services.

Status of the projects

  • Only around 20 cities are likely to meet the June deadline.
  • Shillong has completed just one of its 18 proposed projects.

Basic infrastructural aspects of a Smart City:

  • A sufficient supply of water
  • Uninterruptible power supply
  • Sanitation, which includes solid waste management, is important.
  • Public transportation and efficient urban mobility
  • Affordable housing, primarily for the poor
  • Digitalization and strong IT connection
  • E-government and public involvement
  • Environmental sustainability and citizen safety, particularly for women, children, and the elderly
  • Education and health
  • Environmental and equitable development, to create a reproducible model that may serve as a model for other aspiring communities.

Way forward:

  • It should be a long term programme, not only a five-year programme as most of the cities cannot perform the best within this time frame.
  • To meet the city requirement, more projects should be identified.
  • There are many smart cities whose drainage issue is not yet solved.
  • Studies should be done on why a single project has not been completed in cities.
  • For the mobilization of funds, more revenue should be generated through taxation.
  • The fund transfer process should also be made accessible.
  • All these cities should be secured by cyber security ensuring data security and encryption.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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