June 2014 marked the unveiling of the Indian Government’s aggressive plan to build 100 smart cities in India. The Union Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for implementing the mission in collaboration with the state governments of the respective cities. Driven by the Ministry of Urban Development, the project is set to attract investments of about $1.2 billion. This is set to help cities build holistic development plans with provisions for zero-emission and zero waste. All this and more will be shaped through numerous innovations that include the following:
- Innovative transport: Mobility options to power a road network that spans 47 lakh km. This includes provisions to launch metro rail projects in smart cities along with alternative sources of transportation. For instance, the development of 200 budget-friendly airports in tier-II and tier-III cities.
- Waterway and ropeway mobility: About 20,000 km of rivers are set to be converted into waterways. Similarly, Mumbai will witness ropeway transport that will connect the East and West side of the city.
- Walkable localities: Road networks to be transformed to include pedestrians and cyclists in a bid to reduce congestion and fight pollution.
- Multimodal logistic park: Key initiative to reduce overall freight and warehousing costs, drive freight aggregation and distribution along with value-added services. 36 ring roads around the country will be used as its building blocks.
- Land aggregation and management: Strategically acquiring land and making it available for development in a cost-effective manner. New infrastructure investments would be made while also compensating existing residents.
- Development of open spaces: Such as parks, playgrounds, and recreational zones that boost the quality of life.
- Digitisation: Bringing all government initiates online to boost accountability and transparency. Also including online programs and activities to gather feedback for citizen-friendly decision-making.
- City-wide video surveillance systems: Surveillance systems that are backed by technologies to monitor every corner of the city. Data would be saved onto centralized servers to track roads and accidents.
- Eco-friendly norms: Equipping houses with solar panels and wind generators to increase the reliance on renewable energy sources. Reduced fuel consumption also decreasing air contamination.
- Smart home: Technologies such as automation, security, and surveillance kits to monitor activities in and around houses. With wireless data exchange, residents are granted access to information and news.
- Citizen Response Management System (CRMS): Responsible for managing and receiving emergency alerts, interacting with distressed citizens, dispatching first-response vehicles such as ambulances and fire brigades.
All these efforts are being taken to ensure that smart cities are sustainable, inclusive, and safe. Their seamless implementation is set to change the lives of millions of people.