The Central government has announced the list of the first cities which will be developed as Smart Cities. Belagavi (Karnataka), Udaipur, Guwahati, Chennai, Ludhiana and Bhopal, Surat, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Visakhapatnam, Solapur (Maharashtra), Davanagere (Karnataka), Indore, New Delhi Municipal Council (Delhi), Coimbatore, Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh), Bhubaneswar, Pune and Jaipur. Bhubaneswar topped the list followed by Pune and Jaipur.
The selection process was devoid of any political interference. The ranking was done through a rigorous process of evaluation which included the World Bank,
?Bloomberg and the National Institute of Urban Affairs, among other leading entities.
Ninety-seven cities had been proposed under the Smart City challenge. The current list is a preliminary list; the government will be selecting more cities which will be developed as Smart Cities in due course of time. Some of the parameters that were considered for selecting the smart cities included: implementation framework including feasibility and cost-effectiveness, result orientation, citizen participation, smartness of proposal, strategic plan, vision and goals, evidence-based city profiling and key performance indicators and processes followed.
The government will monitor the development of these 20 cities in the following way:
1) * Based on their evaluation, a panel of experts will suggest improvements in the proposals of these cities. This will be conveyed to the cities for compliance. Help will be provided through mentor agencies and external agencies;
2) * All smart city proposals will have a committed timeline of actions. Cities will have to compulsorily adhere to this timeline, failing which they will be asked to exit the Smart City Mission.
The government will invest Rs 50,802 crore in these 20 cities and towns over five years. However, building a new Smart City would require a huge amount of investment. According to Deloitte India, developing a new or greenfield Smart City with target population of 5 to 10 lakhs is likely to require financial investment ranging between Rs 75,000 and Rs 150,000 crores and may require 8-10 years for implementation.
The second round of the challenge will open on April 1, 2016. A total of 54 cities will compete in this round. Around 40 cities will be selected in the second round; the result will be announced in August 2016.
Announcing the selection of cities in the first round, Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu said that the winners were from 11 States and the Union Territory of Delhi and the selection was totally objective and transparent, based on standardised processes.
Minister Naidu further said that the Smart City Mission marks a paradigm shift towards urban development in the country since it is based on a ‘bottom up’ approach with the involvement of citizens in formulation of city vision and Smart City plans and the Urban Local Bodies and State Governments piloting the mission with little say for the Ministry of Urban Development. He also observed that it was for the first time in the country and even in the world that investments in the urban sector are being made based on competition-based selection of cities.