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Above photo: Mr. Hardeep S. Puri (centre), Minister of State for Housing & Urban Affair at press conference to announce names of 9 new smart cities and the commencement of the Liveability Index program/ Credit: Press Information Bureau, India (from PIB’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/PIB_India/status/954316253828595712)

Above photo: Mr. Hardeep S. Puri (centre), Minister of State for Housing & Urban Affair at press conference to announce names of 9 new smart cities and the commencement of the Liveability Index program/ Credit: Press Information Bureau, India (from PIB’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/PIB_India/status/954316253828595712)

Indian Government selects 9 more cities for development as smart cities and launches Liveability Index for city ranking

The Indian Government has revealed the names of 9 winning cities for the fourth round of the National Smart Cities Challenge. Updates have been provided on progress in the implementation of the smart city plans.

Silvassa from Dadar & Nagar Haveli topped the list, while the other winning cities are: Erode, Tamil Nadu; Diu, Daman & Diu; Biharsharif, Bihar; Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh; Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh; Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh; Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh and Kavaratti, Lakshwadeep.

Total number of planned smart cities goes up to 99

The latest round takes the number of cities earmarked as development for smart cities up to 99. Previously, 20 cities were selected in January 2016, 13 cities in May 2016, 27 cities in September 2016 and 30 cities in June 2017.  

The selected cities are choosing relatively small areas to start with, for addressing infrastructure deficit. In several cities it comes to more than 10% of total city area. The city governments and citizens have leeway to select the area in the mission cities to be selected for Area Based Development (ABD) and there are no restrictions imposed by the mission guidelines in this regard. The developments in this area are supposed to be replicated throughout the city gradually.

Addressing the media, Mr. Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of State for Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) said that the winning cities improved the quality of their Smart City Proposals by 19% (average) to become eligible for selection.

Planned investment of USD 32 billion

The 9 selected cities have proposed around 409 projects with an investment of Rs. 128.2 billion (USD 2 billion) of which Rs. 106.4 billion (USD 1.7 billion) would be in ABD and Rs. 21.8 billion (USD 340 million) would be directed towards pan-city initiatives which would be impacting 3.53 million people living in these areas.  

With the selection of these nine cities, the total proposed investment in the 99 Smart City Mission has gone up to Rs. 2.04 trillion (USD 32 billion).

The funding for these projects will be obtained from multiple sources. The central government and state governments will contribute a combined total of 61.25%, while 12.9% will be sourced through public private partnerships (PPP). Interestingly, around 24.2% is expected to be obtained by converging the objectives, resources and processes of different projects taken up by various agencies towards realisation of a common vision.

Progress in setting up administration and planning teams

Mr. Puri also informed the media that 85 out of 90 cities already selected have incorporated their SPVs (Special Purpose Vehicles) and 61 Cities have procured PMCs (Project Management Consultants), till date.

The SPV will plan, appraise, approve, release funds, implement, manage, operate, monitor and evaluate the Smart City development projects. Each smart city will have a SPV which will be headed by a full time CEO and have nominees of Central Government, State Government and ULB (urban local body) on its Board. The State/UT (union territories are administered directly by the central government) and the ULB will be the promoters having 50:50 equity shareholding. The execution of projects may be done through joint ventures, subsidiaries, PPPs, turnkey contracts, etc. suitably dovetailed with revenue streams.

Another 8 cities are in various stages of hiring their PMCs. With majority of cities now equipped with a team of consultants and administrative teams, the Government expects the progress in the start of work in projects to grow exponentially over the next six months.

Livemint reported recently that the Government is in the process of setting focus groups to function as expert committees guiding cities implementing smart city projects, to ensure that the needs of groups such as women, the differently-abled, and young professionals are met.

Project implementation updates

The press release states that there has been a more than 350% increase in the value of 'completed projects' and 230% increase in ‘work started projects’ over the last six months.

Project areas include the development of smart roads, rejuvenation of water bodies, cycle tracks, walking paths, smart classrooms, skill development centres, upgradation of health facilities and citywide enablers such as integrated command control centre and ICT-based municipal services.

36 cities have already initiated the smart roads and 30 cities have initiated integrated command and control projects. Additionally, 37 cities have initiated smart water projects and 44 cities have initiated solar projects. Architectural, place-making and city beautification projects have been initiated in 40 cities.

Smart City Centers have become operational in four cities, Pune, Surat, Vadodara & Kakinada and work is in progress in another 18 cities. Tenders to develop such Smart City centres have been issued in 11 more cities.

In Rajkot for instance, after deployment of surveillance system, a part the Smart City Centre, crime-incidents are estimated to be down by 17%, from 3,068 in 2016 to 2,554 in 2017. Moreover, the city administration was able to completed 906 rallies/public meetings/VVIP movements during election period last year without any incidents of violence or disruption. Integrated traffic management has increased the traffic speeds and reduced traffic congestions and resulted in cleaner air.

Similarly, 33 cities have issued tenders for smart reuse and wastewater projects, and work has begun in 16 of them.

In order to promote renewable energy usage in the cities, projects for about 250 MW for providing Solar projects on rooftops of government buildings are already installed. Till date, 44 cities have issued tenders, and work has begun in 38 cities. Most of these cities have completed their projects.

As of January 17, 2018, there are 2,948 projects worth Rs. 1.38 trillion (USD 22 billion) in various stages of implementation. 189 projects worth Rs. 22.4 billion (USD 350 million) have been completed, and implementation is underway for 495 projects with a cost of Rs. 186 billion (USD 2.9 billion). Tenders have been floated for 277 projects with a cost of Rs. 159 billion (USD 2.5 billion), while 1,987 projects worth Rs.1,01,992 crore are at DPR (Detailed Project Report) stage. DPR is a final, detailed appraisal report on the project, providing a blueprint for its execution and eventual operation

The round-wise progress of the 90 Smart Cities is as below:

Source: Press Information Bureau of India

In the first sixty cities selected, there are 278 PPP projects worth Rs. 244 billion (USD 3.4 billion) proposed to be developed with PPP. The PPP projects under implementations comprise sectors like housing, waste-to-energy plants, smart parking, public bike sharing, Smart Card app – based citizen service delivery, installation of roof-top solar etc.

By the end of December 2017, out of these 20 PPP projects worth Rs. 3.7 billion have been completed and work has started in 51 more projects worth Rs. 48 billion.  Moreover, tenders for 29 PPP projects worth Rs. 26 billion have issued tenders and are in the process of finalisation.

Commencement of the Liveability Index Programme

The Housing & Urban Affairs Minister also announced the commencement of the Liveability Index Programme in 116 cities.

To develop a common minimum framework for cities to assess their existing status and chart their pathway towards providing a better quality of life to their citizens, the MoHUA has developed a set of ‘Liveability Standards’ relevant to Indian cities to generate a Liveability Index and rate cities. These standards were launched in June, 20187

The framework is based on 24 Smart City features contained in the Smart City Proposals and includes 79 indicators (57 Core Indicators and 22 Supporting Indicators). These indicators are organised in 15 distinct ‘Categories’, designed for measuring various institutional, social, economic and physical aspects that affect the quality of life of citizens and determine the ‘Liveability’ of a city.

MoHUA through an international bidding process under World Bank funded CBUD (Capacity Building for Urban Development) programme has selected M/s IPSOS Research Private Limited in consortium with M/s ATHENA INFONOMICS India Private Limited and the Economist Group Limited for the assessment of liveability indices in 116 cities.

Moneycontrol reported that besides the 99 selected smart cities, the cities to be assessed under the Index include Delhi’s three municipal corporations, Bengaluru, Kochi, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Varanasi, Allahabad, Lucknow, Faridabad and other capital cities.

Some of the key outputs of the exercise will include:

  1. Reconnaissance visits to all 116 cities to capture critical city-level information to inform the city assessment reports.
  2. Over 100,000 citizen and user surveys across the country to measure satisfaction on urban services.
  3. A state of the art ‘Economist-Portal’ to spatially map the data and the ‘Liveability Index’ outputs that will serve as a knowledge base for decision making on policy and planning.
  4. A framework to systematically capture City GDP, which may be integrated and rolled out in subsequent rounds.
  5. Ranking of cities on the basis of Liveability Index to promote competitive environment amongst cities that result will in systematic improvements in quality of life.
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