The state of Andhra Pradesh is all set to rock and roll. The ongoing Smart Cities Challenge had taken a great turn with the Government announcing the first list of top 20 smart cities in the game. Out of the 98 cities that have been shortlisted earlier, Visakhapatnam and Kakinada have made it to the list of 20 Smart Cities. The first list was announced by the Centre only an hour ago. Earlier, Tirupati was also on the run, when the 98 shortlists were announced by in the government in the initial stage last August. However, Vizag and Kakinada have made it to the final 20, welcoming a brand new boost in terms of funding and developmental aid from the central government.
Urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu announced the first list of 20 cities to be developed as Smart Cities today. Bhubhaneswar tops the list while Pune and Jaipur rank second and third respectively.
Cities that have been identified for the mission will be developed exhaustively, flaunting top class infrastructure such as assured water, round the clock power supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation.
“The states selected cities and sent us a list of 97 names. There was a competition among these names and 20 cities have been selected,” Naidu told while speaking to the media at a news conference. “Bottom up approach has been the key planning principle under Smart City Mission,” he added.
“The Smart City Challenge Competition was as rigorous and demanding as the civil services competition conducted,” Naidu shared.
Way Forward for India
Coming years will see the government announcing 40 cities each to be developed as smart cities. This is as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to develop 100 smart cities in the country in the future.
The government plans on to build these smart cities by the year 2022 in order to accommodate the sprucing urban population in the countr. The numbers are expected to rise by more than 400 million people to 814 million by the year 2050, statistically.
The above 20 cities will be competing on a variety of matrices, including urban reforms and their plan of action in four key areas:
Make in India,
Good governance (modern accounting system, rationalization of property taxes) and
Mr Venkaiah Naidu stated that a total of 15.20 million (1.52 crore) citizens had already participated in the preparation of Smart City plans at various stages till day. He affirmed that Smart City plans will demonstrate the way integrated planning and smart technologies are collaborated in order to deliver better quality of life to the citizens.
To this effect, both the Centre and states will equally split the total cost of the project that is currently estimated at Rs 96,000 cr. The central government will provide on an average Rs. 100 crore per chosen city per year. The project cost of each smart city will fluctuate based on the amount of contribution and forecasting, model, capacity to execute and repay.
There is also a present challenge of raising funds as the project is about developing older cities with limited scope to overhaul. Heavily populated areas may need complete rebuilding, which will call for arranging for either temporarily rehabilitation or acquiring land.