India’s dream of world-class urban infrastructure, with eco-friendly habitats, is set to acquire wings in the coming months with the government announcing a list of the first 20 smart cities out of the 98 shortlisted earlier.
The list of 20 smart cities, which were selected through a contest, was unveiled on January 28 by Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu. These 20 cities will be the first to receive funds. The next two years will see the inclusion of 40 and 38 cities, respectively.
Odisha capital Bhubaneswar outsmarted all other competing cities in India to gain the top rank in the Smart Cities contest, followed by Pune and Jaipur. “The idea of smart cities has aroused an unprecedented enthusiasm ever since it was first mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014,” Mr Naidu said in New Delhi. “Nobody can stop an idea whose time has come. This applies more to the launch of Smart City Mission in our country,” he said.
“Today marks a historic landmark in the annals of urban development in our country as we get to know the first batch of smart cities,” the minister said. “This announcement marks a paradigm shift in our approach to urban development in the country,” he said.
A ‘smart city’ is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability. The Centre has provided a funding of Rs 48,000 crore (around $8 billion) to selected cities to improve infrastructure and public service delivery with the help of technology and e-governance.
The ‘Smart Cities Mission’ has also become a major plank of India’s foreign policy with Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking support of developed countries in his quest to transform the country’s urban infrastructure. The United States, France, Germany, China and Japan are some of India’s key external partners in this smart cities project.
There are 98 cities and towns that in five years will graduate into smart cities. Out of these 98 cities, 24 are capital cities, another 24 are business and industrial centres, 18 are culture and tourism influenced areas, five are port cities and three are education and health care hubs.
Here’s the list of 20 cities shortlisted by the government.
- Guwahati, Assam
- Pune, Maharashtra
- Bhubaneswar, Odisha
- Jaipur, Rajasthan
- Surat, Gujarat
- Chennai, Tamil Nadu
- Kochi, Kerala
- Ahmedabad, Gujarat
- Ludhiana, Punjab
- Jabalpur, Rajasthan
- Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
- Sholapur, Maharashtra
- Davangere, Karnataka
- Indore, Madhya Pradesh
- New Delhi Municipal Corporation
- Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
- Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh
- Belagavi, Karnataka
- Udaipur, Rajasthan
- Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
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