Saturday, July 24, 2021

Year Ender-2020: A report on the ‘Smart City Mission’

The News Services Division brings glimpses of “The Year that was” in the Special Series Year Ender. The reform in cities has been one of the top agendas of the NDA government. Smart Cities Mission was launched in 2015 to promote sustainable and inclusive cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of Smart Solutions.

100 Smart cities are proposed to be developed. At the launch of Smart City Mission in June 2015, the Prime Minister outlined how for the first time the Government has used the challenge mode for selection of Smart Cities. In this method, the onus of categorizing a city into a Smart City lies largely with the people and the local bodies.

COVID-19 has affected almost the entire world, causing widespread disruptions in economies and healthcare services. India is no exception. But the mission to develop 100 smart cities in India, has seen an upturn in the post lockdown months as the funds utilization has almost doubled.

AIR correspondent takes a look at the progress of Smart Cities Mission. Out of the proposed 100 smart cities, in 53 cities Integrated Command and Control Centres are functional and it is helping in a huge way to control crime against women. The World Economic Forum has rightly appreciated the government’s Smart City Mission saying, Indian smart cities offer a model for pandemic recovery. The forum said, Indian government leveraged its Smart Cities Mission, to enable cities to effectively leverage technology in improving citizen services and overall quality of life.

The magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis presented many challenges for cities to overcome, including a lack of available staff, technical knowledge to repurpose existing smart solutions, and capacity building and training for those manning COVID-19 War Rooms. Technology adoption across smart cities in India targets to provide better service delivery to citizens and improve the quality of life.  Cities clearly demonstrated that technology and data-driven decision making are critical for ensuring effective citizen outreach and service delivery.

To institutionalize this transformation, the government is now on the path to right institutional coordination mechanisms  and data-driven service delivery. Infrastructure elements in Smart City include adequate water supply, assured electricity supply, sanitation, including solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, affordable housing, especially for the poor, robust IT connectivity and digitalization. Most notably security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly and health and education are the core areas of smart cities and the government is on a mission mode to improve their lives.

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