The Centre is in the advance stage of finalising the contours of its ambitious 100 smart cities’ project and has sought comments and suggestions from the private sector including the academia and the industry, a top Urban Development Ministry official said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi recently.
“We have already put up a draft concept paper on our website and once we finalise the contours we will go to the EFC (Expenditure Finance Committee) and to the Cabinet,” said Shankar Aggarwal, secretary, Ministry of Urban Development while inaugurating a national conference on ‘Opportunities & Challenges@100 Smart Cities,’ organized by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
“It will take a little bit of more time as it is a huge task and we got to have wider consultation with everyone, all stakeholders have to be consulted and we are in the process of doing that,” said Aggarwal.
“We are in the process of identifying those 100 smart cities in consultation with their state governments,” he added. “We have got to focus on satellite towns of mega cities as well as the mid-size towns.”
The top Urban Development Ministry official said that the Government wants to achieve 100 percent reliable and robust connectivity while taking the advantage of information and communication technology (ICT) under smart cities.
“The idea is to get 24×7 electricity and water supply, cyber connectivity and urban mobility with a very good quality of public transport system.”
Talking about the role of private sector in developing smart cities across India, the secretary said “Almost 98 per cent work has to be done by the private sector, academia and the industry while only two per cent i.e. the glue has to come from the Government of India.”
“We will be very happy to get your (private sector) comments and suggestions and we are open to all kinds of ideas as this journey can be travelled only with your assistance and support,” added Aggarwal.
Assuring of the Government support to the private sector, he said “I assure you that we will stand by you, we will strengthen your hand and ensure that this phase of transformation is successful and we are able to bring happiness and prosperity across India.”
On the issue of Central Government’s plan to build office complex in Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone, the MoUD secretary informed, “We are identifying the area within the Lutyens’ Bungalow zone and outside it for constructing some kind of a central place for all government meetings.”
Talking about the office-space requirement, Aggarwal said “We will be requiring something like 100 acres of land as now we have been able to get the requirements of all the departments.”
In his address at the ASSOCHAM conference, Vineet Relia, MD, SARE Homes, said, “Translating India’s ‘smart city’ dream into reality will require large amounts of capital investment and this makes prioritizing smooth flow of FDI of extreme importance. Besides, the government will have to create incentives to attract foreign investors to be a part of the India growth story. Another very important factor that requires attention is the creation of good employment drivers which will instigate migration – something that will make inclusive growth possible.”