Chasing Urban Dream: India identifies 98 smart cities

India’s smart cities mission has moved a step forward with the government announcing the list of 98 ‘Smart Cities’ that will be developed to enhance the quality of urban life in India. With the Indian economy growing over the past couple of decades, a host of problems associated with unplanned urbanization have cropped up.

Indian cities have started becoming unlivable, according to many urban development reports, and are facing plenty of challenges from housing to infrastructure, sanitation, employment and public transport. To help address these issues, the government has shortlisted 98 cities across the country as part of its Smart Cities project.

The Centre has decided to provide funding of Rs 48,000 crore to selected cities to improve infrastructure and public service delivery with the help of technology and e-governance.

Smart City has also become a major plank of India’s foreign policy thrust, 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. Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu stressed that these smart cities will be equipped with robust IT connectivity and digitization and core infrastructure such as water supply, electricity supply, sanitation, public transport, solid waste management and affordable housing. “We are not just aiming at making our urban landscape fanciful and flashy but the prime objective is to enhance quality of urban life,” said Mr Naidu.

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