“Smart Cities Mission”, is of greater importance to the citizens as well as to the government, it is a term that has been in news for a very long time now. Through this blog, let us understand why is this mission so important, why has it gained so much momentum over time?
Also, we would help you understand how would it affect a common man’s life?
The concept of “Smart Cities” has different notions for different people, across different geographies. The definition keeps changing according to the different needs of different cities. What remains constant is the fact that this mission has been launched in order to provide a better quality of life to the people, and to make them technologically progressive, and smart. The government has launched this mission to deal with the challenge of rapid urbanization. Through this mission, they seek to develop the cities in terms of infrastructure. The committee set up for planning and implementing the concept of “Smart Cities” is looking forward at developing the urban ecosystem, which they say can be defined by the four pillars of development; institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure. The growth of any city is measured by its ability to deal with the issues related to urbanization and social, environmental and economic issues in a holistic manner, while keeping in mind the opportunities it would, in turn, bring in the future.
The concept of “Smart Cities” is intended at implementing the government’s vision of advanced and modern urbanization. So far, no resources have been utilized to their fullest in most of the cities. Thanks to the inadequate monitoring and responsiveness. As per the plan, electricity, sewerage, storm-water drainage, and water supply will be reinforced in newly built Smart Cities, mitigating the stress that the large-scale housing projects have been consistently creating on a city’s infrastructure. The government is aiming at developing around 100 cities and making them citizen friendly and sustainable. This falls in line with providing ample living space and investment opportunities for the infrastructure sector in India. The Indian cities which are currently or have been proposed for the “Smart Cities” project include Khushkera in Rajasthan, Kochi in Kerala, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Ponneri in Tamil Nadu, Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Manesar in Delhi NCR, Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, and Tumkur in Karnataka.
There are some fundamental objectives listed by the government that they seek to achieve through this mission:
- Housing and inclusiveness – ensuring housing is accessible to all
- Reducing congestion, air pollution, resource depletion, and boosting the local economy, promoting interactions and ensuring security
- Constructing road networks keeping in view the safety of pedestrians and cyclists
- Constructing playgrounds, and recreational spaces in order to enhance the quality of life of citizens
- Increasing reliability on online services to bring about accountability and transparency.
Formation of e-groups to listen to people and get their authentic feedback, and use online programs for monitoring progress.
- Working towards building each city’s own identity basis its uniqueness, be it local cuisine, art, and craft, culture, hosiery, textile, etc
- Making cities less vulnerable to disasters, using lesser resources, and providing services at a lower cost
- Robust IT connectivity and digitalization
- Proper sanitation, along with solid waste management
- Sustainable environment
- Safety of citizens by installing a camera in every nook and corner.
In order to implement the “Smart Cities” mission successfully, the central, as well as the respective state governments in India, have created Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Special Investment Regions (SIRs), where they have relaxed the regulations and tax structures, thereby attracting foreign investment. As it is anticipated that the funding for the project would come from the private developers and from foreign investors, hence the modification in regulations and tax structures is seen.
Under the “Smart Cities” project, we would also see the launch of public Wi-Fi hotspots across the city to bridge the digital divide, and to encourage people to use information and communication technology (ICT) enabled services. It is being said that this initiative is being taken to encourage residents to get in touch with the governing body and register their complaints. The “Smart Cities” would bring innovative technologies into use, create more innovative ways of delivering public services and make better use of data with the objective of becoming more sustainable, prosperous and create a better place to live in. Apart from this, the mission is also aiming at launching a zero wet waste initiative wherein, the residents would be encouraged to recycle the biodegradable waste as bio-fertilizer or biogas. Sustainable use of resources, reduction, and recycling of water are yet another important areas that would be given due attention.
Undoubtedly, there is tremendous potential in India to build an effective ecosystem to enable our burgeoning urban areas to become smart by using digital technology. This, in turn, will create employment opportunities and contribute to economic growth through innovation. Our cities are growing tremendously in terms of population and if not developed soon, they will not be able to accommodate this population and in turn, would worsen the lifestyle of people. The quality of life our future generations will lead highly depends upon how smartly we build, manage and operate our cities. We are answerable to our future generations to make our cities smart through the use of technology. How well would they lead their life, what all resources would be available at their disposal would depend on how judicially and smartly do we make use of the available resources and what all would we do to prevent them.
Hence, the implementation and success of the “Smart Cities” project have become vital for us. Once successfully built, the smart cities will be totally technology driven, self-sufficient and autonomous. We can rely upon this project and can expect an improvement in our quality of life.