Smart Cities Mission

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    In News

    • The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has extended the timeline for the implementation of the Smart Cities Mission to June 2023 due to the Covid pandemic.

    Smart Cities Mission (SCM)

    • About:
      • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in 2015.
      • It will cover 100 cities and is being implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and all state and union territory (UT) governments.
      • It initially aimed to be completed by 2019-20 but has since been extended. 
    • Objective & Significance:
      • To promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to their citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions.
      • Make Cities liveable, inclusive, sustainable (Area-based development).
      • Create employment opportunities.
    • Four pillars:
      • Social Infrastructure, Physical Infrastructure, Institutional Infrastructure, Economic Infrastructure.
    • Need:
      • India is the world’s second-most populous nation.
      • 31% of India’s present population and contribute around 63% of GDP (Census 2011).
      • Urban areas are anticipated to house 40% of India’s people and contribute around 75% of India’s GDP by the year 2030.

    Key Challenges

    • Slow progress: Less than 50 per cent of the projects had been completed.
    • Finance Resources: Difficulty in mobilising funds, transferring them to SPVs, and using them efficiently.
    • Digital security: Can be vulnerable to hacking by cybercriminals.
    • Urban Problems: Like air pollution, road congestion & decline in public transport.
    • Lack of confidence shown by citizens: Lack of clarity around benefits
    • Policy Issues: Like hindrances in getting environment clearances.

    Government Initiatives to Support the SCM

    • National Urban Digital Mission (NUDM): It will create a shared digital infrastructure for urban India.
      • It shall work across the three pillars of people, process, and platform to provide complete support to cities and towns.
    • National Urban Learning Platform (NULP): It aims to propagate solutions and innovations that are underway, and act as an enabler of the rapid development of diverse new solutions developed by cities and states.
    • Ease of Living Index (EoLI): The EoLI is an assessment tool by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs that evaluates the quality of life and the impact of various initiatives for urban development in the city.
    • India Smart Cities Awards Contest (ISAC): It was launched to reward the cities, projects and innovative ideas promoting ‘smart; development in cities.
    • The Urban Learning Internship Programme (TULIP): TULIP is a program for providing fresh graduates with experiential learning opportunities in the urban sector.
      • It would help enhance the value-to-market of India’s graduates and help create a potential talent pool in diverse fields like urban planning, transport engineering, environment, municipal finance etc.

    Way Ahead

    • PPP Model: SHould be opted for administrative & technological capabilities.
    • Decentralisation: Planning at Municipal & state level.
    • Governance Issues: Like red-tapism, environmental clearances need to be taken care of. 
    • Infrastructure: Strengthening Social infrastructure.

    Source: TH