Multi-stakeholder participation key to success of smart cities plan

Multi-stakeholder participation key to success of smart cities plan

Multi-stakeholder participation key to success of smart cities plan

“If we want sustainable growth we have to care for the weaker sections. That is why this government is focussed on creating smart cities, which would provide economic opportunities to all. This would create an environment for inclusive development,” Shankar Aggarwal, secretary, ministry of urban development said.

Aggarwal was making a presentation on ‘Policies of India’s urban future: the 100 smart cities programme’ at the second and last day of Urban Age conference organised by the London School of Economics and Deutsche Bank. The government has initiated key initiatives in this regard. Firstly, the government has initiated clean India movement; it aims to have a clean country by 2019.

This would require a change in the mind set, he said. Second is rejuvenation of heritage towns such as Ajmer, Agra and Varanasi. These cities would be developed in a way that the heritage remains intact. “No doubt, we get agitated in absence of basic civic services in these towns,” he said. Third is urban renewal of 500 cities and fourth is creating 100 smart cities.

These cities would leverage information and communication technology for better governance. “But ICT would just be a thin layer. The city will have few core infrastructural elements. First is institutional infrastructure,” he said. This would mean all services would be delivered online. All information will be put online. These initiatives will be aimed at increasing citizen engagement. Second is civic infrastructure.

This would include putting in place adequate water supply, sanitation, garbage and sewage treatment, optical fibre connectivity, mobility systems, which would reduce travel time, he said. If all stakeholders — government, industry, academia, civil society – work together these cities could be transformed in to smarter urban spaces, he said. The idea is to bring peace, progress and prosperity in the society, he added.

3 sub-cities in Varanasi’s makeover

3 sub-cities in Varanasi’s makeover

3 sub-cities in Varanasi’s makeover

Government has finalied a smart city plan for Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi makeover has become a top priority for the urban development ministry. Varanasi will be developed as a ‘smart city’ with cooperation from Kyoto, the Japanese ‘smart city’ which is a confluence of heritage and modernity.

According to the ministry’s proposed plan, accessed by dna, the city’s heritage structures be restored even as its infrastructure is upgraded. Three sub cities — Sarnath, Banaras Hindu University and Airport City — will be carved out as smart sub-cities, interconnected by a network of flyovers. The idea is to ensure that commuting from one sub-city to another does not take more than 30 minutes.

The proposed transport infrastructure also includes a metro rail. An IT park, a skill development centre and an IT research and development centre are also mooted.
The ministry plans to restore the Sarnath Temple, the Jain temples of Varanasi with help from the Archaeological Survey of India. The presentation also talks about the International Centre for Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism studies.
An academy for music and dance and a school of Oriental learning have also been proposed in the smart plan. To promote art and culture, three museums (one each dedicated to textiles, culture and tourism) and a Bhojpuri film festival are on the cards.
The river beautification involves the redevelopment of a 100 ghats in Varanasi. An inland waterway between Allahabad to Kolkata is also proposed.

The plan is likely to be launched on December 25, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s brithday. The entire makeover is expected to be complete in three phases, ending by 2019.

Intel to take initiative in India’s Smart Cities initiative

Intel  to take initiative  in India's Smart Cities initiative

Intel to take initiative in India’s Smart Cities initiative

American multinational corporation Intel Corporation is looking forward to take initiative in India Government’s Smart Cities Plan. The technology giant is also talking to technology providers to collaborate for the projects, Debjani Ghosh, vice-president, sales & marketing group, managing director, Intel South Asia said according to economics times.

She said, “From management to security to analytics, we have it all on our hardware platform. We provide System Integrators with very compelling platform and they can build these solutions further.”

In the interview by ET she was asked ” Do you foresee execution as a challenge for the initiative in India? ” She answered, “Execution has always been a challenge in India. This is one of those cases where the strongest political will is required to make it happen. I have never seen such strong political will. You will see some results.”

Chennai and Bengaluru among world 100 Resilient Cities network

Chennai and Bengaluru among world 100 Resilient Cities network

Chennai and Bengaluru among world 100 Resilient Cities network

Indian two cities namely Chennai and Bengaluru have joined the ‘100 Resilient Cities’ network, dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to physical, social and economic challenges, for demonstrating a commitment to building their capacities in tackling 21st century issues.

The announcement of the incorporation of the 35 new cities was made on December 2 at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Urbans Resilience Summit in Singapore. Besides Chennai and Bengaluru, the other South Asian cities included in the network are Deyang (China), Huangshi (China), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Singapore and Toyama (Japan).

A total of 331 application were submitted for the said event. Each city was asked to present a clear and compelling description of its major challenges and its approach to decrease vulnerabilities. 100RC network, is pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, New York.

After the review of the applications, a panel of judges including African Development Bank president Donald Kaberuka, president and CEO of the Asia Society Josette Sheeran, and former president of Costa Rica Jose Maria Figueres, recommended the set of 35 member cities.

According to the network, Chennai was chosen for developing coordinate disaster response plans to protect low-lying coastal areas in the face of a high flood risk.

Chennai is making efforts to learn from past events and is continuing to provide best-practice solutions to other regions, it said. The city is also budgeting resources to improve waste collection to minimise its impact as an environmental threat and during flooding.

On Bengaluru, it said that the city has a strong investment in the tech support industry but disruptions to infrastructure such as those caused by seasonal monsoon flooding can have serious negative consequences for industry and the city’s economic stability.

Chennai and Bengaluru among world 100 Resilient Cities network

Indian two cities namely Chennai and Bengaluru have joined the ‘100 Resilient Cities’ network, dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to physical, social and economic challenges, for demonstrating a commitment to building their capacities in tackling 21st century issues.

The announcement of the incorporation of the 35 new cities was made on December 2 at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Urbans Resilience Summit in Singapore. Besides Chennai and Bengaluru, the other South Asian cities included in the network are Deyang (China), Huangshi (China), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Singapore and Toyama (Japan).

A total of 331 application were submitted for the said event. Each city was asked to present a clear and compelling description of its major challenges and its approach to decrease vulnerabilities. 100RC network, is pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, New York.

After the review of the applications, a panel of judges including African Development Bank president Donald Kaberuka, president and CEO of the Asia Society Josette Sheeran, and former president of Costa Rica Jose Maria Figueres, recommended the set of 35 member cities.

According to the network, Chennai was chosen for developing coordinate disaster response plans to protect low-lying coastal areas in the face of a high flood risk.

Chennai is making efforts to learn from past events and is continuing to provide best-practice solutions to other regions, it said. The city is also budgeting resources to improve waste collection to minimise its impact as an environmental threat and during flooding.

On Bengaluru, it said that the city has a strong investment in the tech support industry but disruptions to infrastructure such as those caused by seasonal monsoon flooding can have serious negative consequences for industry and the city’s economic stability.

Rs 7 lakh crore Needed for the next 20 years to built 100 smart cities

Rs 7 lakh crore Needed for the next 20 years to built 100 smart cities

Rs 7 lakh crore Needed for the next 20 years to built 100 smart cities

The urban development ministry has estimated the amout needed to built Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s grand vision to build 100 Smart Cities. And it says that Rs 7 lakh crore over the next 20 years, which works out to a whopping Rs 35,000 crore every year to put the requisite infrastructure in place. Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in Budget earmarked Rs 7,060 crore this fiscal to “provide the necessary focus” on the scheme.

The government is pinning its hopes on the private sector and the public-private partnership (PPP) mode to make the huge investment.

“However, it is expected that most of the infrastructure will be taken up either as complete private investment or through PPPs. The contribution from the government of India and states/urban local bodies will be largely by way of viability gap support,” the note says.

Interestingly, while the draft note banks heavily on private sector investment, urban development secretary Shankar Agarwal had in a closed-door discussion with business leaders recently admitted that “the experience in past PPP projects in India is not encouraging”.

He appeared to be referring to the roads and highways sector, wherein the PPP mode has turned out to be a huge fiasco resulting in several major projects getting stalled and the government stepping in with its own funding to get them going again. Similarly, in the Railways there have been few or no takers for PPP projects
The problem is that these projects require long gestation lags before they can turn in any profits because of which the private sector is hesitant to invest in them. In the meeting chaired by Agarwal on smart cities, private sector chief executives clearly flagged the “return on investment” as a crucial issue that would determine business decisions on smart cities.

The urban development ministry expects leading IT companies like Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, TCS and Infosys “to be actively involved in the process of designing smart city projects and hand holding the city and state governments in coming up with visionary plans”.

The ministry has incorporated views of global consulting companies like Mackenzie, KPMG and PWC on a wide range of features that are the hallmark of a smart city.

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