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The Smart Cities Mission: A step towards Smart India

The Smart Cities Mission: Recently, under the Smart Cities Mission, cities across the country were asked to submit proposals for projects to improve municipal services and to make their jurisdictions more liveable.

Context:  Recently, under the Smart Cities Mission, cities across the country were asked to submit proposals for projects to improve municipal services and to make their jurisdictions more liveable.

About The Smart Cities Mission:-
  • It is a centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in 2015.
  • It is under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • It covered 100 cities for the duration of five yearsstarting from the financial year (FY) 2015-16 to 2019-20.
  • It aims to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of peopleby enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens.

The most recent developments in the Smart Cities Mission

In a parliamentary standing committee report, it was noted that the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry had informed the committee that the possibility of extending the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) beyond its existing deadline of June 30th, 2023, remains under consideration.

Summary of the panel’s findings:
  • The report, centered on the budgetary requests of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, was presented to the Lok Sabha by the Standing Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs. It highlighted the subsequent key observations:
    • Highlighting notable disparities in the achievements of cities within the Smart City Mission (SCM).
      • A total of 32 cities have exceeded their originally planned project implementations within the Smart City Mission.
      • As of now, 68 cities have not achieved their set targets, and the performance of some among them is notably subpar.
      • Therefore, the overall count of completed projects can be deceptive, as it includes surplus projects completed by 32 smart cities as well.
    • Status update on the mission:
      • Among the 7,821 projects with a total value of Rs. 181 lakh crore, a substantial 5,343 projects worth Rs. 1 lakh crore have been effectively completed.
      • To date, out of the entire allocation of Rs. 48,000 crore for the mission, Rs. 36,561 crore has been disbursed, with 90% of these funds being put to use by the cities.
    • Suggestions put forth by the panel under the leadership of MP Rajiv Ranjan:
      • Prior to considering any additional deadline extensions, it is imperative to conduct a comprehensive assessment and address the root causes of significant project delays.
Objective of The Smart Cities Mission: 

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.

Four pillars:-
  • Social Infrastructure, Physical Infrastructure, Institutional Infrastructure, and Economic Infrastructure.
  • India is the world’s second-most populous nation.
  • Urban areas are anticipated to house 40% of India’s people and contribute around 75% of India’s GDP by the year 2030.
Status of The Smart Cities Mission projects:-
  • As of March 2023, the 100 cities have issued work orders for 7,799 projects worth Rs 1.80 lakh crore.
  • Out of these, 5,399 projects worth Rs.1.02 lakh crore have been completed, and the rest are ongoing.
  • Only around 20 cities are likely to meet the June deadline; the rest will need more time.
  • Cities selected in January and June 2018 have achieved 44% of their targets.
  • Cities selected in 2016 in the second round are not much farther ahead with 46% completion.
  • Shillong has completed just one of its 18 proposed projects.

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