The Government of India launched the Smart Cities Mission in 2015, with the aim of transforming 109 cities in the country with the use of digital and information technologies, urban planning best practices, public-private partnerships, and policy change. As of now, 90 cities have been selected and the infrastructural and socio-economic transformation is already underway. Bengaluru, Vishakhapatnam, Pune, Chennai and Ahmedabad are some of the major cities on the list.
The mission is to build efficient and reliable infrastructure and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunities, with the interest of the residents at the forefront. These 109 cities are going to serve as the model for the development of urban India. Policymakers and others associated with the Smart Cities Mission acknowledge that transforming a major city is far more difficult than building a new one; however, the project has tremendous potential and will redefine the landscape of urban India.
Smart Cities have been envisioned to address the most pressing socio-economic challenges and focus on the greatest opportunities to improve the lives of residents. The agenda is a comprehensive one, and covers the following areas:
· 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
· Good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation
· Sustainable environment
· Safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly
· Health and education
The approach to transforming these cities into Smart Cities is a multi-pronged one, and will tap into digital and information technologies, urban planning best practices, public-private partnerships, and policy change to bring about a monumental shift in the way of life.