Saturday 27 June 2015

Smart Cities Scheme

Why in news?
Smart cities Scheme launched recently.
READ about AMRUT Mission here.

Why do we need smart cities?

  • The demography (urban population - density and growth, migration, rise of neo middle class)
  • The engines of economic growth
  • Pressure on basic amenities
  • Challenges posed by increasing Urbanisation

Source: Indian Express
Some administrative issues faced by our cities (Source: Indian Express)

Solutions: New satellite towns, mid sized town and improve SMART cities

What are Smart Cities?

In this video the first part where the Hon'ble Minister is speaking and the conclusive part of the Presenter is good.

  • Centre has given no clear definition of a Smart City in the Indian context. ‘Efficiency’ and ‘better management’ of basic service provision, infrastructure and urban mobility are basic associated concepts. 
  • Better manage water supply through metering
  • Waste management through waste-to-energy, or fuel conversion; 
  • Energy management through the promotion of green buildings or use of renewable sources;
  • ‘Smart’ traffic management and parking facilities. 
  • The concept is basically about harnessing technology in various spheres of urban life


Source: Punjab Kesari

  • To avoid delays and non-completion of projects on account of lack of resources, the States and the Union Territories will now be required to indicate firmly resource tie-ups under State-level action plans. 
  • Consultations with urban citizens have been made mandatory to ensure need-based and bottom-up planning of projects.
  • State-level action plans for convergence with other Central and State government schemes for resource maximisation, PPP models for resource mobilisation and involvement of members of Parliament and Assemblies in formulation and monitoring of projects are also included in the revamped schemes.
The core infrastructure elements in a smart city would include: 
i. adequate water supply, 
ii. assured electricity supply, 
iii. sanitation, including solid waste management, 
iv. efficient urban mobility and public transport, 
v. affordable housing, especially for the poor, 
vi. robust IT connectivity and digitalization, 
vii. good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation, 
viii. sustainable environment, 
ix. safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly, and 
x. health and education

How will Smart cities selected?
On the basis of three documents:
  • Citizen Reference Framework
  • Smart City Development Plan
  • Environment sustainability Plan
Sates will shortlist --> Union will finalise list of 100 cities
  • Cities will be chosen under the Smart Cities Mission through a two-stage competition. In the first stage, each State and Union Territory will rank all their cities based on a set of criteria and nominate the top scorers as per the indicated number of potential smart cities for participation in Stage 2 of the competition.
    • The cites were graded on 13 criteria that showed their existing service levels (performance on Swachh Bharat scale or online grievance system), institutional capacities (increase in revenue collection etc.), ability to self-finance, and past track record (e.g. in implementation of reforms mandated under the previous urban renewal mission, JNNURM). The lists of top scorers were sent to the central government. 
  • Quota by central govt for each state to make nominations based on a 50:50 weightage for their number of statutory cities and urban population density. 
    • This is why all union territories, Northeastern states, and small states like Goa, as well as states such as Kerala or Uttarakhand were allowed only one Smart City each — while Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra could nominate the largest number of cities. States had to shortlist their nominees based on an intra-state competition.
    • The Indian Census makes a distinction between statutory towns that are official and Census Towns, which fulfil urban characteristics but are not officially declared towns. The 2011 Census reports as many as 2,553 Census Towns and their share of population is about 14.4 per cent. Many of these Census Towns have no desire to become urban, as they stand to lose the large quantum of funding under various programmes of rural development, including MGNREGA

  • This list has been announced on 27th August - 98 Smart City nominees which, with a total population of 13 crore, account for 35 per cent of India’s urban population. 2 cities - one each from J&K and UP will be announced soon taking count to 100.

  • 24 cities on the list are industrial or business centres, 18 are cultural or tourism hubs, five are port cities and three are educational and heathcare hubs and capital cities account for a quarter of total Smart Cities.
What about funding?

  • Each selected city will be provided Central assistance of Rs. 100 crore a year
  • ₹ 7 lac crore over 20 years
    • Central funding of Rs 48,000 crore over a five year period. 
    • The money will be equally distributed among the selected cities for improving their infrastructure and service delivery through application of better technology and e-governance. 
    • The state and urban local bodies have to together provide a matching contribution to each city. 
    • This is in addition to thousands of crores worth of investments from the private sector which they will be allowed to recover through levy of user charges on say water supply or urban transport and they would be interested to invest as in times of financial crisis this would be a safe investment
  • Infrastructure:g-Governance: Maintenance etc. = 60:10:30
    • + 10% Bonus
  • Money from public: user charges decided by independent regulatory body - water, electricity, property
  • Private sector investment in public transport etc.
  • REITs, InvITs, Municipal Bonds, etc.
  • 100% FDI allowed
  • Extensive use of ICT - threat of cyber attacks
  • with development comes demand which leads to higher rent, making the city a place only for rich and depriving the poor and commoners of the benefits leading to risk of social apartheid.
  • Continuous CCTV monitoring --> privacy issues, can be misused
  • Changes in urban landscape - originality in terms of culture etc. will be lost
  • Should rather focus on Rural and Rurban areas - prevent out-migration
  • Green belts, biodiversity (whatever is left) won't be able to survive in concrete jungle with wire meshes and invisible wi-fi rays all around
Latest update
  • Smart cities in Indian context would ensure robust IT connectivity and digitisation along with core infrastructure such as water supply, electricity supply, sanitation, public transport, solid waste management and affordable housing. “We are not just aiming at making our urban landscape fanciful and flashy but the prime objective is to enhance quality of urban life,” Naidu said adding that central government will immediately release Rs 2 crore to each of the cities for preparation of their Smart City plans.
Models of Smartness: Area Based Development and Pan-City Development

  • ‘Pan-City Development’: 
    • It involves application of ‘smart’ solutions through use of data and technology to an aspect of citywide infrastructure or transport. 
  • Area-based development 
    • It could be through retrofitting, redevelopment or greenfield development.
Global Examples 
  • Retrofitting: In 2005, the London suburb of Hackbridge, with a population of 8,000 people, took up a decade-long project to become the first zero-carbon area in the UK. It started by taking up mass retrofitting of all homes to improve energy use, promoting green businesses and local food schemes so as to cut down on carbon emissions. 
  • Redevelopment: The urban regeneration of 200 hectares of industrial area and former shipping docks in Nordhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark, is based on the concept of providing living spaces around two large public spaces and several smaller parks. With an aim to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital, Copenhagen has launched an ambitious project in Nordhavn to recycle resources, using renewable energy and sustainable transport. 
  • Greenfield: The $ 35 billion venture of Songdo International Business District in South Korea has been planned on 1,500 acres of reclaimed land. The city, which will on completion have 80,000 apartments, 5 crore sq ft of office space, and 1 crore sq ft of retail space, has been planned on green buildings principles with open spaces accounting for 40 per cent of land. The city has sensors to monitor everything from traffic flow to energy use. 
  • Pan-city development: Hafencity in Germany’s Hamburg, Europe’s largest inner-city development in recent years, has experimented with e-mobility through electric bicycles and electric cars in a car-sharing model as an alternative means of transportation.
[Sources: Punjab Kesari, The Hindu, PIB, Indian Express, MoHUPA, Bloomberg]


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