'Smart City' Initiative Aims to Improve Ease-of-Living in Indian Urban Areas

Cape Times (South Africa), April 20, 2018 | Go to article overview

'Smart City' Initiative Aims to Improve Ease-of-Living in Indian Urban Areas


INDIAN Prime Minister Narendra Modi is touring Sweden, the UK and Germany. This is his first visit to Sweden as well as a visit by an Indian prime minister after three decades.

With Sweden's Stefan Lofven, Modi co-hosted a summit between India and the Nordic countries. In the UK, he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit (CHOGM), before stopping over in Berlin.

India enjoys a close and constructive relationship with these countries; they have been trusted and reliable long-term partners in India's quest for prosperity and sustainable development, and instrumental in addressing the needs arising from the process.

Partnership in national flagship programmes such as Make in India, Startup India, Digital India, Clean India and Smart Cities Mission is contributing to their achieving key objectives.

Readers may already be aware of Make in India and Clean India, which have been covered in this column earlier.

Ably complementing these is another initiative aimed at changing the urban landscape in India - Smart Cities Mission.

The mission was launched on June 25, 2015 to promote urban centres that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment through the application of "smart" solutions.

The programme also focuses on sustainable and inclusive development. The idea is to create a self-sustaining and replicable model in urban development and management, a critical requirement in a country the size of India.

The core infrastructure elements in a smart city would include adequate water supply, assured electricity supply, sanitation, including solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, affordable housing, especially for the poor, robust IT connectivity and digitalisation, good governance, especially e-governance and citizen participation, sustainable environment, safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly, and health and education.

Harnessing existing and cutting-edge technology in achieving these objectives is implicit.

In terms of strategy, the mission focuses on city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment) and city extension (greenfield development) besides a pan-city initiative in which smart solutions are applied to most of the operations in a city.

Retrofitting will introduce planning in an existing built-up area to make it more efficient and liveable. In retrofitting, an area consisting of more than 500 acres (1 e hectares) will be identified by the city in consultation with citizens.

Redevelopment will affect a replacement of the existing built-up environment and enable co-creation of a new layout with enhanced infrastructure using mixed-land use and increased density.

Redevelopment envisages an area of more than 150 acres, identified by urban local bodies in consultation with citizens.

Greenfield development will introduce most of the smart solutions in a previously vacant area (more than 250 acres) using innovative planning, plan financing and plan implementation tools (e. …

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