The Centre has devised a 20-20 model to pair the top 20 cities with the bottom 20 and help the lagging cities to kick-start the smartening up process by borrowing technical know-how and financial studies. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has thrown open a 100-day challenge for the lagging smart cities to up their game by the fifth anniversary of Smart City Mission on June 25. About 100 smart cities have been selected through a competitive process in four different rounds. These cities have identified 5,151projects worth Rs 2,05,018 crore to be undertaken under the Smart City Mission.
So far, 80 per cent of these projects have been tendered and 60 per cent of these projects have been grounded or completed. While the pace of implementation of projects is outstanding in some of the smart cities, progress of projects is below average in a few cities. The bottom 20 cities have tendered barely 10 per cent of the identified projects. Addressing this difference in pace, the ministry has now decided to introduce a 100-day challenge. In this, the top 20 smart cities would support the bottom 20 cities. Known internally as the 20-20 concept, each of the top 20 have been paired with the bottom 20 as “sister cities”.
Each of these cities would sign a formal memorandum of understanding (MoU) with its sister city. This MoU would be valid for one year and aim at improving the ranking of the sister city. The cities would troubleshoot together and try and kick-start projects in laggard cities. The sister cities would provide access to technical and financial studies, including detailed project reports, feasibility studies and impact assessments. Top-ranking Ahmedabad has been paired with Chandigarh, which is ranked 81. Nagpur, which ranks 2, will hand hold Port Blair which is 96th in the all-India ranking. Similarly, other sister cities are Tirupur (rank 3) with Silvassa (87), Ranchi (rank 4) with Shimla (92), Bhopal (rank 5) with Aizawl (rank 82), Surat (rank 6) with Saharanpur (91). The 100-day challenge would be to turn around the bottom 20 cities.