The Smart Cities Mission was launched by the Indian government in 2015, with an estimated project value of approximately $14 billion. The scheme aims at developing a number of urban financial centres across India, each of which is endowed with the latest in information communication technology.
By definition, all functions within a smart city are carried out in the digital sphere. According to the World Bank, a smart city is a technology-intensive city that has sensors installed everywhere and offers highly efficient public services using information gathered in real time by thousands of interconnected devices.”
Deloitte breaks the characterisation of a smart city down into six primary components. The first is smart governance, which entails the migration of the entire state infrastructure and citizen services to the online domain, facilitated by the presence of a strong IT infrastructure.
The second component described by the Big Four accounting and advisory firm is smart living, which includes state-of-the-art facilities for sewage & sanitation, water supply, electricity, housing and a number of other aspects of daily life. These constitute the core infrastructure of a smart city.
In addition, a smart city consists of smart people, which means a comprehensive education programme and an abundance of cultural activities. Smart mobility is another key aspect of a smart city, which not only includes a solid walking infrastructure, but also ICT-based transport and traffic control.
The last two components, as per Deloitte are smart environment and smart economy. The latter ensures that most residents of a smart city have access to employment opportunities, while the former entails the absence of pollution, green architecture, and a reliance on renewable energy.
Building on these components, the scheme has integrated an increasing number of ctiies within this programme, starting with 60 in 2016 and 30 in 2017. By June last year, the North Eastern city of Shillong was shortlisted to be the 100th smart city in the country.
Once a city is selected to be a part of the Smart Cities programme, Deloitte identifies three types of development that are conducted in the urban centres. The first comes under the bracket of Redevelopment Projects, which include replacements of various aspects of the current built environment.
The second comes under the broad ambit of Retrofitting Projects, which entails the addition of new infrastructural development in order to facilitate greater connectivity in the city. Thridly, the firm identifies Greenfield Projects, which include the introduction of smart solutions in “previously vacant areas.”
While the majority of the investment in the Smart Cities Mission is drawn from the central government, Deloitte’s analysis reveals that the smart mobility component is drawing the most funding, followed by area development and economic development. Energy, ICT solutions and housing follow as the next biggest priorities.