The ‘Smart City Mission’ is gaining momentum each passing day. In the latest development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA Government will officially declare the first batch of 20 smart cities early January.
A press release from the Ministry of Urban Development stated, “Evaluation of smart city plans of 97 cities in the second stage of ‘City Challenge’ competition is already in progress and the results will be announced shortly marking a high point in promoting competition among cities for resource allocation, the first of its kind.”
“The Government has reset the parameters for urban planning in 2015 and has approved an investment of about Rs 42,000 crore in 2015 for developing basic urban infrastructure and for affordable housing alone. This includes Rs 19,170 crore for improving infrastructure relating to water supply, sewerage networks, storm water drains, urban transport and open spaces in 474 cities in 18 states under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), launched in June this year,” the release said.
The release added, “In pursuit of enabling urban areas as more effective engines of high rate of economic growth besides making them more liveable, the Government has put an end to ad-hocism in urban planning and resource allocation under new urban sector initiatives. Under AMRUT, a detailed infrastructure gap analysis has been made mandatory for formulating Service Level Improvement Plans (SLIP) for each of the mission cities for allocation of central assistance from out of the five year kitty of Rs 50,000 crore. Unlike in the past, urban local bodies and state governments have been empowered to appraise and approve projects with the Ministry of Urban Development completely withdrawing from the same.”