Five new smart cities to be investment hubs
Five new smart cities, proposed by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Budget, would be developed on the pattern of Gandhinagar’s Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) with dedicated metro corridors, energy-conserving buildings, walkability elements, state-of-the-art design elements and automated garbage collection. Even while Parliament is discussing the Budget proposals, the Centre has started the spadework for the five new smart cities.
- The department for promotion of industry and internal trade is working closely with ministry of housing and urban affairs to finalise a template for the proposed smart cities.
- The new smart cities would be developed as investment hubs and not follow the present urban concept of retrofitting and developing a small area of a city as a smart city.
- The smart cities would be on the lines of GIFT and special economic zones (SEZs). These are not cities to solve urban problems instead these would be areas which would be set up to attract private investment.
- These cities would be set up as business districts, or townships, over a large area dedicated to a certain activity, including manufacturing, or a certain sector.
- The Centre is considering different factors like state government’s industrial policies and economic health as the cities would be developed on public-private-partnership model with state and Centre both contributing financially.
- The new smart cities would be developed as cities with a new transport system, metro lines connected with international airports and cargo terminals, automatic or intelligent transit system, underground electricity cabling, dedicated use of renewable sources of energy, automated garbage collection system, waste water treatment plants and an overall sustainable green city.
What is Smart City
- 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.
- 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’.