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.