Questions stay over the government’s ‘smart city mission’ challenge, says new report


New Delhi: Initiatives below the flagship Smart Cities Mission (SCM) launched by the NDA authorities in 2015 are already noticeable. However, there are a number of query marks over its total impression on Indian cities, famous the India Infrastructure Report (IIR) 2023. The report was launched by former vice chairman and former union city improvement minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday.

The launch of India Infrastructure Report 2023. (Photo credit score: NIUA)

The IIR 2023 report, compiled by the National Institute of Urban Affairs, Infrastructure Development Corporation (Karnataka) Ltd, and the IDFC Foundation, has authored papers on points corresponding to planning and governance, sensible initiatives, PPPs and financing, housing and migration, public service supply, integrating infrastructure, and concrete redevelopment by material consultants.

Stay tuned with breaking news on HT Channel on Facebook. Join Now

The authors of this chapter — Tathagata Chatterji, professor at Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar and Chetan Vaidya, impartial director (non-executive) of GIFT City in Gujarat, famous that SCM has been the “most important initiative” to reform city administration and enhance the city scenario. But if the SCM can remodel Indian cities into “livable and efficient cities is still an open question”, they wrote.

The authors famous that whereas the mission had began to “smarten” Indian cities to emulate advances made by cities of the worldwide north, the SCM in India had relegated to enhancing the prevailing infrastructure of cities in areas of water provide, mobility, and different such points. Some of the initiatives which were taken are growing parks and cycle paths, and the redesign of streets to be pleasant to folks and kids.

Smart cities work below a particular goal car (SPV) mannequin by forming an organization collectively owned by the city native physique and state authorities for the actual metropolis. A CEO appointed for the SPV is an IAS officer working below the state authorities. The board of the sensible metropolis firm consists of high-ranking IAS officers who select the initiatives which can be to be taken up following broad-based pointers of the Union authorities.

The elected mayoral council has no function within the board of the Smart City initiatives.

The authors of this chapter stated that this parallel authority of the SCM is “a violation of the spirit of the 74th Amendment”. The 74th Amendment to the Constitution of 1993 recognised city native our bodies as constitutional entities and granted them autonomy for decentralised governance. However, because the CEOs of those SCMs will not be autonomous and neither the prevailing framework of city native our bodies is disbanded, the authors doubted if the current construction will work.

The report additionally stated that worldwide, sensible metropolis initiatives corresponding to New York, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Sao Paulo, and Johannesburg have been single-city initiatives the place the cities themselves set the important thing coverage targets and determine upon the technical specs. But in India, as it’s achieved by way of a union authorities scheme, there are vital city-to-city variations within the implementation of the programme.

Also Read: ‘Core debilities’ reducing efficiency of improving infra in Indian cities: Report

Unlike routine infra initiatives, SMC initiatives goal to carry qualitative change, the authors famous that there’s a have to develop a complete framework that might consider the extent to which sensible cities can enhance the standard of lifetime of the folks. The authors famous that on this course, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has engaged 15 well-known educational establishments to evaluate 75 sensible metropolis initiatives throughout the nation.

“These studies can provide valuable inputs towards scaling up and replicating the smart city projects, especially those in the pilot stage. However, it is also necessary to go beyond individual projects and address some of the bigger questions that have come up about the Smart City Mission’s programme design and policy implementation process,” the authors famous.

They stated learnings from these will assist perceive points like the shortage of lasting reputation of bicycle sharing schemes launched below the SCM in varied cities. The chapter highlighted the shortage of planning, integration, and citizen engagement that led to the failure of such a type of challenge. The authors additionally questioned the effectiveness of the SPV mannequin on which sensible metropolis firms for every of the 100 cities are arrange. They stated it isn’t clear, resulting from insufficient analysis, if SPVs are higher geared up to lift funds with out a rise in municipal income as a complete.

Among different highlights of the report, one other set of authors—Debjani Ghosh, assistant professor and analysis affiliate Anna Brittas of NIUA—famous that some city indices launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for measuring the efficiency of cities, regardless that at the moment helpful, are overlapping in nature and could be improved additional.

These indices had been launched to measure outcomes of funding in city improvement in India by way of varied flagship schemes and packages. Among such workout routines, the Swachh Survekshan (SS) is the biggest survey of its form and is aligned with the objectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission. The authors famous that whereas the present development of rating cities towards each other has a constructive impression, sure challenges come up as properly. “The changes in indicators, definitions, etc., make comparability difficult as there are overlaps in the parameters/ indicators. Often, the scope and definition of indicators do not consider local context – it must be kept in mind that a ‘One-size-fits-all’ approach does not work in every case,” the authors stated.

They instructed that skilled companies accumulate information on efficiency with lengthy contracts to take action below the management of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), or by the NSSO itself slightly than by consultants, advert hoc chosen for the aim.

Content Source:

Related Stories