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Smart Cities Mission - The Renaissance In Need

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Sujith Vasudevan, Assistant Editor

Half a decade is enough time to analyze the trajectory of Smart Cities Mission. The 100 Smart Cities Mission was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015, with a back-lift of Rs.98,000 crore. However, the progress card implicates progress card implicates a slow start. Having allocated merely half of the initial Rs.48,000 crore budget, of the more than 5000 projects initially proposed, only about 3500 are actively pursued till now. The amount released for various

projects stands at Rs.17,000 crore, while only Rs.6,160 crore has been used. In the big picture, only 13 percent of the planned projects have been completed over the past three years.

The government in fact has commenced analyzing the mission’s progress under five parameters - planning, technology, governance, services & finance, along with climate sensitive action and ease of living sensitive action. But considering India-centric challenges and a lot of gray areas - the additional parameters like exponentially growing population, cultural diversities, and bureaucratic & political complexities - it is not reasonable to even think that Indian cities were going to reboot into the advanced versions just like that. It takes more time and better solutions for India-centric challenges.

At this moment, amidst a pandemic and after the country-wide lockdown, which brought the entire project to a near halt, the non-deteriorating enthusiasm and confidence of the government have to be considered a great omen. The project is restarting slowly with a lot more private participation planned - to infuse capital in the planned and upcoming cities. The Cities have to plan and sketch the projects in detail and then bid them out. A broad index of startups and blue chip companies, including the companies that are featured in this issue, come in here with a lot at stakes and huge expectations.

The Smart Cities Mission 2.0 needs to be a re-birth.

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