GS Paper 1
Syllabus: Developmental issues, Urbanization, their problems and their remedies
Context: The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry (MoHUA) has extended the deadline for the Smart Cities Mission from June 2023 to June 2024.
What is the Smart Cities Mission?
- It is an initiative of the MoHUA launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme on June 25, 2015.
- To promote cities that provide core infrastructure, and a clean and sustainable environment, 100 cities (to be developed as Smart Cities) have been selected through a two-stage competition (from January 2016 to June 2018).
- 66 of the cities are small (less than 1 million population) and are implementing two-thirds of the projects.
It aims to:
- Drive economic growth through comprehensive work on social, economic, physical and institutional pillars of the city and
- Improve the quality of life through smart solutions.
- Focus on sustainable and inclusive development by the creation of replicable models which act as lighthouses to other aspiring cities.
The six fundamental principles on which the concept of Smart Cities is based are:
What kinds of projects were proposed?
- The project includes making certain stretches of pedestrian-friendly roads into more capital-intensive ones like laying water pipelines and constructing STPs.
- In addition, some PPP infrastructure projects like multi-modal transport hubs, common mobility cards and public bike sharing are included.
- All 100 cities have also constructed Integrated Command and Control Centres to monitor all security, emergency and civic services.
- During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, these were converted into emergency response units by many of the cities.
What is the status of the projects?
- The projects were supposed to be completed within five years, but in 2021 the Ministry changed the deadline for all cities to June 2023.
- As of March 2023, the 100 cities have issued work orders for 7,799 projects worth Rs 1.80 lakh crore.
- 50 out of the 100 cities have completed 75% of the projects and would be able to complete the remaining works by June.
- However, they would need more time to carry out the documentation, dissemination and institutionalisation of the best practices and innovations.
Significance of extending the deadline to June 2024: It will enable all 100 smart cities to not only complete their projects but also document and disseminate the learnings from the mission.