In an attempt to transform the urban infrastructure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will formally launch the Smart City and AMRUT projects on June 25, 2015. The event will take place at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi in the presence of various senior officials from state governments and Union Territories dealing with urban affairs, including municipal commissioners and mayors.
Urban Development Minister, Venkaiah Naidu, said, “It will be an important day for the urban development sector and thereafter the main challenge for state governments and urban local bodies to get things going for making effective use of huge investments by the Centre and other sources in the sector.”
He further added that the main objective of the two projects is to change the landscape by addressing the issue of infrastructure gap in urban areas so that cities become more livable, further enhancing the business and investment climate for the benefit of the poor.
Sometime ago, the Union Cabinet had cleared the projects- 100 smart cities and a new urban renewal mission for 500 cities which was named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, vice the one entitled after Jawahar Lal Nehru, with a total amount of Rs 98,000 crore for the next five years.
Out of 98,000 crore, 48,000 crore has been earmarked for Smart City project, while Rs 50,000 crore will be spent on AMRUT.
The projects aim at reshaping the urban landscape to make them more livable. Countries like France, Japan, Singapore and the United States have shown interest in partnering with India on the Smart City project. There is an urgent requirement for development of urban infrastructure since population has increased many folds in the cities.
In the first phase, a total of 20 cities are likely to be selected, while 40 will be selected at the next stage followed by 40 more later.
Smart cities are proposed to raise the quality of urban life by providing a clean and livable environment, along with 24*7 power and water supply. Sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transportation, affordable housing for poor and robust IT connectivity among others are essential features of the project.
Each Smart City aspirant will be selected through a ‘City Challenge Competition’ which intends to link financing with the ability of the cities to perform to achieve the objectives. As per the norms, each state will shortlist a certain number of smart city aspirants and they will prepare smart city proposals for further evaluation in order to extend central support.
AMRUT will focus on ensuring basic infrastructure services such as water supply, sewerage, storm water drains, transport and development of green spaces and parks with special provision for meeting the needs of children.
Implementation will be linked to promotion of urban reforms such as e-governance, setting up of professional municipal cadre, improvement in assessment and collection of municipal taxes, credit rating of urban local bodies and citizen-centric urban planning.
Execution will be associated with the promotion of urban reforms like egovernance, setting up of professional municipal cadre, improvement in assessment and collection of municipal taxes, credit rating of urban local bodies and citizen-centric urban planning.