National Smart Cities Mission is an urban renewal and retrofitting program by the Government of India with the mission to develop smart cities across the country, making them citizen friendly and sustainable.The Union Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for implementing the mission in collaboration with the state governments of the respective cities. The mission initially included 100 cities, with the deadline for completion of the projects set between 2019 and 2023. On 7 September 2019, the 10,000-acre Aurangabad Industrial City (AURIC) in Aurangabad, Maharashtra was inaugurated as the first greenfield industrial smart city of India.
Cities accommodate nearly 31% of India’s current population and contribute 63% of GDP (Census 2011). Urban areas are expected to house 40% of India’s population and contribute 75% of India’s GDP by 2030. This requires comprehensive development of physical, institutional, social and economic infrastructure. All are important in improving the quality of life and attracting people and investment, setting in motion a virtuous cycle of growth and development. Development of Smart Cities is a step in that direction.
The Smart Cities Mission is an innovative and new initiative by the Government of India to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens.
Smart Cities focus on their most pressing needs and on the greatest opportunities to improve lives. They tap a range of approaches – digital and information technologies, urban planning best practices, public-private partnerships, and policy change – to make a difference. They always put people first.
In the approach to the Smart Cities Mission, the objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions. The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities. The Smart Cities Mission is meant to set examples that can be replicated both within and outside the Smart City, catalysing the creation of similar Smart Cities in various regions and parts of the country.
The total number of 100 Smart Cities have been distributed among the States and UTs on the basis of an equitable criteria. The formula gives equal weightage (50:50) to urban population of the State/UT and the number of statutory towns in the State/UT. Based on this formula, each State/UT will, therefore, have a certain number of potential Smart Cities, with each State/UT having at least one. The number of potential Smart Cities from each State/UT will be capped at the indicated number. This distribution formula has also been used for allocation of funds under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation – AMRUT.
The distribution of Smart Cities will be reviewed after two years of the implementation of the Mission. Based on an assessment of the performance of States/ULBs in the Challenge, some re-allocation of the remaining potential Smart Cities among States may be required to be done by the Ministry of Urban Development.