Shri Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has said that in terms of sheer numbers, the largest urban transformation of the 21st century is happening in India. Inaugurating a two-day Apex Conference on Smart Cities here today, he said, India’s unique pattern of urbanization is not a corollary, but a driving force of this growth story. “With 70% of India’s built environment for 2030 yet to take shape, its impending urban transformation also represents significant opportunities for domestic and international investments”, he added.
Shri Anil Baijal, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Secretary MoHUA, Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, Shri Naresh Kumar Chairman, NDMC, Shri Kunal Kumar. Mission Director (Smart Cities) & senior officials of MoHUA were present on the occasion. The conference organised by MoHUA, has participation of over 130 participants from smart cities, industries, funding organizations and multilateral agencies, domain experts and various stakeholders. An exhibition on various Smart City projects has also been organised.
Shri Puri said, to achieve sustainable growth, the cities will have to become more liveable and safer with clean air; adequate infrastructure; reliable utilities; and opportunities for learning and employment. He said, the solution lies in inclusive urbanization processes that prioritize quality of life for all, focusing especially on the needs of vulnerable urban groups for employment, housing, sanitation, healthcare and education. “Most importantly, planning must incorporate long-term resource sensitivity and community involvement at every step, while benchmarking smart and measurable outcomes for all stakeholders”, he emphasised.
Shri Puri informed that currently all 100 Smart Cities have established their SPVs, constituted their City Level Advisory Forum (CLAF) and all cities have appointed PMCs, indicating that all these Smart Cities are in Mission mode. He further informed that Integrated Command and Control Centres becoming operational in 15 cities has resulted in enhanced efficiency in governance, management of traffic, law enforcement, improved citizen grievance redressal and reduced criminal incidents on city streets and public spaces. “ICCCs have also reduced traffic violations, improved efficiency in solid/liquid waste management, water and wastewater management as well as air quality management”, he said. The Minister also laid emphasis that the time has come when the need for the City governments to take ‘digital leadership’ has become more pronounced. “Making cities ‘Data Smart’ is key in realizing the full potential of technology interventions and innovation ecosystems in cities:, he said.
Shri Durga Shanker Mishra in his inaugural address said that citizens are at the core of Smart City Mission and added that it has the largest level of citizen engagement. He outlined other parameters for Smart Cities saying they must have efficient use of resources; cooperative and competitive federalism; integration, innovation and sustainability; technology and inclusiveness. Shri Mishra emphasized on three core ideas of Smart Cities, i.e., liveability, economic ability and sustainability. and pointed out that various other Government Missions of MoHUA are also part of the process of improving Indian towns and cities. “The Smart Cities Mission is an innovative initiative by the Government to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens” he said. “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”, he added.
Elaborating further, Shri Mishra said that cities in India have become a centre of focus for business and are a means to enhance livelihoods. “India must rejuvenate its cities promptly to address the increasing aspirations of urban dwellers and attract the investment that will further drive growth and development. Cities in India face a range of challenges to meet demand and supply gaps in urban regions, in such areas as water, waste management, energy, mobility, the built environment, education, healthcare and safety. The plans announced by the Government for 100 smart cities and 500 Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) cities are being implemented in a structured approach towards urban management. These programmes have opened up avenues for local industry and global players to participate in the development of cities across such sectors as utilities, housing, mobility, telecommunications, information technology, healthcare, education and recreational facilities. The Government has shown commitment by allocating funds to these programmes” he informed.
The Smart Cities Mission aimed at promoting 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 Mission is a bold, new initiative 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.
The Conference will hold discussion on subjects like : Ease of Living—How Smart Cities Mission is making an impact on ease of living for citizens; Connected Communities—How Smart Cities Mission is creating Connected Communities; Urban Resilience and Sustainability—How Smart Cities Mission is making Indian cities resilient and sustainable; Smart Governance—How Smart Cities Mission is creating a Smart Governance ecosystem in Indian cities etc.Over 130 experts from several countries will participate in the conference. The Conference is expected to chart out a roadmap for implementing Smart Cities mission.
On the occasion, the Minister gave away the Smart Cities Digital Payments Awards (SCDPA) --‘100 days Challenge in 100 Smart Cities’ The objective of these awards is to guide, motivate, recognize and reward the Smart Cities for promoting digital payments and carrying out innovative payment initiatives in their respective cities. Awards were also distributed for City Investments To Innovate, Integrate and Sustain (CITIIS) Challenge. Platforms and microsites on “Ease of Living Index and Municipal Performance Index 2019”, “Climate Smart Cities”, “National Urban Learning Platform”, “India Urban Data Exchange” and “Cities GDP Measure” were also launched on the occasion.