The Smart Cities Mission is a program launched by the Government of India in 2015 with the aim of transforming and modernizing 100 cities in the country. The mission seeks to promote sustainable and inclusive urban development, improve the quality of life for citizens, and enhance the economic and social opportunities in urban areas.
Under the Smart Cities Mission, each selected city receives funding and technical assistance from the central government to develop and implement projects that address the city’s specific challenges and needs. These projects may include the deployment of smart technologies, infrastructure development, environmental sustainability initiatives, and the improvement of public services such as transportation, waste management, and public safety.
The Smart Cities Mission has been hailed as a significant step forward in India’s urbanization efforts, as it aims to create modern and efficient urban centers that can support economic growth and provide a high quality of life for citizens.
The Smart Cities Mission is a project launched by the Prime Minister of India on June 25, 2015. Its main goal is to create cities that provide essential infrastructure, clean and sustainable environments, and a decent quality of life to citizens through the use of smart solutions. The objective of the mission is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life in cities by addressing social, economic, physical, and institutional challenges. The focus is on creating replicable models of sustainable and inclusive development that can serve as examples for other cities to follow. The mission plans to develop 100 cities as smart cities through a two-stage competition.
What are the six fundamental principles of Smart Cities?
The six fundamental principles on which the concept of Smart Cities is based are:
- “Livability”: The focus is on providing a decent quality of life to all citizens through proper infrastructure and amenities, such as affordable housing, sanitation, and good governance.
- “Economic Vibrancy”: The goal is to create a strong and sustainable local economy by promoting economic growth, job creation, and entrepreneurship.
- “Sustainability”: The emphasis is on developing and maintaining an eco-friendly and sustainable environment, with a focus on reducing carbon emissions, conserving resources, and using renewable energy sources.
- “Resilience”: The objective is to build resilient cities that can withstand and recover quickly from natural or man-made disasters, ensuring the safety and security of citizens.
- “Governance and Services”: The focus is on providing transparent and efficient governance, improving public services, and using technology to enhance citizen engagement and participation.
- “Technology and Innovation”: The aim is to use technology and innovation to make cities more efficient, responsive, and adaptable to changing needs, with a focus on developing digital infrastructure, smart mobility, and e-governance services.
A total of 34 cities have been selected to be developed as Smart Cities in India under the Smart Cities Mission.
- Port Blair
- Bihar Sharif
- NDMC (Delhi)
- Kalaburagi (Gulbarga)
Mission Statement & Guidelines
- The Challenge of Urbanization
1.1 Cities are engines of growth for the economy of every nation, including India. Nearly 31% of India’s current population lives in urban areas and contributes 63% of India’s GDP (Census 2011).
With increasing urbanization, urban areas are expected to house 40% of India’s population and contribute 75% of India’s GDP by 2030. This requires comprehensive development of physical,
institutional, social and economic infrastructure. All are important in improving the quality of life and attracting people and investments to the City, setting in motion a virtuous cycle of
growth and development. Development of Smart Cities is a step in that direction.
- What is a ‘smart city’
2.1 The first question is what is meant by a ‘smart city’. The answer is, there is no universally accepted definition of a Smart City. It means different things to different people. The conceptualisation of Smart City, therefore, varies from city to city and country to country, depending on the level of development, willingness to change and reform, resources and aspirations of the city residents. A Smart City would have a different connotation in India than, say, Europe. Even in
India, there is no one way of defining a Smart City.
2.2 Some definitional boundaries are required to guide cities in the Mission. In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a Smart City contains a wish list of infrastructure and
services that describes his or her level of aspiration. To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban eco-system, which
is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development — institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure. This can be a long term goal and cities can work towards developing such comprehensive infrastructure incrementally, adding on layers of ‘smartness’.
2.3 In the approach to the Smart Cities Mission, the objective is to promote 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. The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities. The Smart Cities Mission of the Government is a bold, new initiative. It is meant to set examples that can be replicated both within and outside the Smart City, catalysing the creation of similar Smart Cities in various regions and parts of the country.
2.4 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.
2.5 As far as Smart Solutions are concerned, an illustrative list is given below. This is not, however, an exhaustive list, and cities are free to add more applications.
2.6 Accordingly, the purpose of the Smart Cities Mission is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local area development and harnessing technology,especially technology that leads to Smart outcomes. Area-based development will transform existing areas (retrofit and redevelop), including slums, into better planned ones, thereby improving liveability of the whole City. New areas (greenfield) will be developed around cities
7.in order to accommodate the expanding population in urban areas. Application of Smart Solutions will enable cities to use technology, information and data to improve infrastructure and services. Comprehensive development in this way will improve quality of life, create employment and enhance incomes for all, especially the poor and the disadvantaged, leading to inclusive Cities.
- Smart City Features
3.1 Some typical features of comprehensive development in Smart Cities are described below.
i. Promoting mixed land use in area-based developments — planning for ‘unplanned areas’ containing a range of compatible activities and land uses close to one another in order to make land use more efficient. The States will enable some flexibility in land use and building bye-laws to adapt to change;
ii. Housing and inclusiveness — expand housing opportunities for all;
iii. Creating walkable localities — reduce congestion, air pollution and resource depletion, boost local economy, promote interactions and ensure security. The road network is created or refurbished not only for vehicles and public transport, but also for pedestrians and cyclists, and necessary administrative services are offered within walking or cycling distance;
iv. Preserving and developing open spaces — parks, playgrounds, and recreational spaces in order to enhance the quality of life of citizens, reduce the urban heat effects in Areas and generally promote eco-balance; v. Promoting a variety of transport options — Transit Oriented Development (TOD), public transport and last mile para-transport connectivity; vi. Making governance citizen-friendly and cost effective — increasingly rely on online services to bring about accountability and transparency, especially using mobiles to reduce cost of services and providing services without having to go to municipal offices; form e-groups to listen to people and obtain feedback and use online monitoring of programs and activities with the aid of cyber tour of worksites; vii. Giving an identity to the city — based on its main economic activity, such as local cuisine, health, education, arts and craft, culture, sports goods, furniture, hosiery, textile, dairy, etc;
viii. Applying Smart Solutions to infrastructure and services in area-based development in order to make them better. For example, making Areas less vulnerable to disasters, using fewer resources, and providing cheaper services.
- Coverage and Duration
4.1 The Mission will cover 100 cities and its duration will be five years (FY2015-16 to FY2019-20). The Mission may be continued thereafter in the light of an evaluation to be done by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and incorporating the learnings into the Mission.
5.1 The strategic components of Area-based development in the Smart Cities Mission are city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment) and city extension (greenfield development) plus a Pan-city initiative in which Smart Solutions are applied covering larger
parts of the city. Below are given the descriptions of the three models of Area-based Smart City Development:
5.1.1 Retrofitting will introduce planning in an existing built-up area to achieve Smart City objectives, along with other objectives, to make the existing area more efficient and liveable.
In retrofitting, an area consisting of more than 500 acres will be identified by the city in consultation with citizens. Depending on the existing level of infrastructure services in the
identified area and the vision of the residents, the cities will prepare a strategy to become smart. Since existing structures are largely to remain intact in this model, it is expected that more intensive infrastructure service levels and a large number of smart applications will be packed into the retrofitted Smart City. This strategy may also be completed in a shorter time frame, leading to its replication in another part of the city.
5.1.2 Redevelopment will effect a replacement of the existing built-up environment and enable co-creation of a new layout with enhanced infrastructure using mixed land use and increased density. Redevelopment envisages an area of more than 50 acres, identified by Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in consultation with citizens. For instance, a new layout plan of the identified area will be prepared with mixed land-use, higher FSI and high ground coverage. Two examples of
the redevelopment model are the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Project in Mumbai (also called the Bhendi Bazaar Project) and the redevelopment of East Kidwai Nagar in New Delhi being undertaken by the National Building Construction Corporation.
5.1.3 Greenfield development will introduce most of the Smart Solutions in a previously vacant area (more than 250 acres) using innovative planning, plan financing and plan implementation
tools (e.g. land pooling/ land reconstitution) with provision for affordable housing, especially for the poor. Greenfield developments are required around cities in order to address the needs
of the expanding population. One well known example is the GIFT City in Gujarat. Unlike retrofitting and redevelopment, greenfield developments could be located either within the limits of the ULB or within the limits of the local Urban Development Authority (UDA).
5.1.4 Pan-city development envisages application of selected Smart Solutions to the existing city-wide infrastructure. Application of Smart Solutions will involve the use of technology, information and data to make infrastructure and services better. For example, applying Smart
Solutions in the transport sector (intelligent traffic management system) and reducing average commute time or cost to citizens will have positive effects on productivity and quality of life of
citizens. Another example can be waste water recycling and smart metering which can make a substantial contribution to better water management in the city.
5.2 The Smart City proposal of each shortlisted city is expected to encapsulate either a retrofitting or redevelopment or greenfield development model, or a mix thereof and a Pan-city feature
with Smart Solution(s). It is important to note that pan-city is an additional feature to be 9 provided. Since Smart City is taking a compact area approach, it is necessary that all the city
residents feel there is something in it for them also. Therefore, the additional requirement of some (at least one) city-wide smart solution has been put in the scheme to make it inclusive.
5.3 For North Eastern and Himalayan States, the area proposed to be developed will be one-half of what is prescribed for any of the alternative models – retrofitting, redevelopment or greenfield
- Proposal Preparation
6.1 The Government is not prescribing any particular model to be adopted by the Smart Cities. The approach is not ‘one-size-fits-all’; each city has to formulate its own concept, vision, mission
and plan (proposal) for a Smart City that is appropriate to its local context, resources and levels of ambition. Accordingly, they have to choose their model of Smart City and answer the question: What kind of Smart City do they want? For this, cities will prepare their Smart
City Proposal (SCP) containing the vision, plan for mobilisation of resources and intended outcomes in terms of infrastructure up-gradation and smart applications.
6.2 Essential features of SCP : It may be noted that even though a particular model is not being prescribed, it is expected that the SCPs will include a large number of infrastructure services and smart solutions highlighted in paras 2.4 and 2.5. In particular, the elements
that must form part of a SCP are assured electricity supply with at least 10% of the Smart City’s energy requirement coming from solar, adequate water supply including waste water
recycling and storm water reuse, sanitation including solid waste management, rain water harvesting, smart metering, robust IT connectivity and digitalization, pedestrian friendly pathways, encouragement to non-motorised transport (e.g. walking and cycling), intelligent traffic management, non-vehicle streets/zones, smart parking, energy efficient street lighting, innovative use of open spaces, visible improvement in the Area (e.g. replacing overhead
electric wiring with underground wiring, encroachment-free public areas, and ensuring safety of citizens especially children, women and elderly). Cities will have to add more ‘smart’ applications to this list in order to improve their SCP. In the case of redevelopment and
greenfield models of Smart Cities, in addition to the essential features mentioned above, at least 80% buildings should be energy efficient and green buildings. Additionally, of the total
housing provided in greenfield development, there should be at least 15% in the affordable housing category. It must be emphasized that, since cities are competing with each other for
selection under the Smart Cities Mission, the SCPs have to be prepared with great care and the proposed Smart City made ‘smart’ enough.
6.3 Cities will prepare SCPs using the principles of strategic planning process and the proposal will contain area-based development plans and Pan-city initiatives. The SCP is collaborative
because the objectives and funds of all government departments, parastatals, private agencies and the citizens are dovetailed during the process of preparing the SCP. It is realized that the
task of preparing the SCPs is quite challenging and States/ULBs will require assistance of experts. There are two ways of obtaining technical assistance support — by hiring consulting firms and engaging with handholding agencies
6.3.1. Consulting Firms: The Ministry of Urban Development will technically qualify a panel of consulting firms and the States/UTs are at liberty to draw upon this panel. As considered necessary, the States/UTs may request financial proposals from these firms in the template RFP given in the Toolkit and do a selection based on applicable procurement rules and guidelines.
The scope of work for the Smart City Consulting firms is given in Annexure 1. The States have the option of appointing a consulting firm outside the panel by following transparent and fair
procedures as per State financial rules.
6.3.2. Handholding Agencies: During the preparation of the Smart Cities Mission, a number of foreign Governments have offered to provide Technical Assistance (TA) support. Additionally,
other external organizations, including bilateral and multilateral institutions, as well as domestic organizations have suggested to the Ministry of Urban Development that they can
give technical assistance support. These include World Bank, ADB, JICA, USTDA, AFD, KfW, DFID, UN Habitat, UNIDO, etc. Such organizations, which have experience in the field of Smart
City development, can also extend support to the States/UTs as hand-holding agencies in preparing the SCPs. The Ministry will assist in tying up the arrangements.