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The Smart Cities Mission was launched on the 25th of June, 2015 by the Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Through the application of ‘smart solutions’, the Mission aims to provide a decent quality of life to their citizens through core infrastructure, sustainable and clean environment. Comprehensive work that combines social, economic, physical, and institutional pillars of the city can drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of its citizens. 100 cities have been shortlisted to be developed into Smart Cities in a two-stage competition. The focus is to try out a set procedure in sustainable and inclusive development that will act as pillars of samples for the future shortlisted cities.

The financial support that has been announced is Rs 48,000 crores over a span of 5 years that coming to an average of Rs.100 crore per city per year. It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.  The clause says that the Union Local Body or the State has to raise the same base amount. Any additional resources are to be raised by Finance Commission grants, ULB’s own funds

(Union Local Body), novel finance mechanics like Municipal bonds, government programs, and borrowings. The citizen’s overview and opinion were also captured in the Smart City Proposals (SCPs) prepared by some selected cities. There has been encouragement on the participation of private sectors through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). In summation, the proposals contained more than 5,000 projects. The approximate valuation of the above-mentioned projects was 2,00,000 crores that saw contribution from mission grants ( 45 percent), PPP (21 percent), convergence ( 21 percent), and the remainder through other sources.

Challenges faced by the Smart Cities Mission

  • The mission requires proactive and forward-thinking individuals that work in governance and reforms. The addition of smart people to the Mission will be enabled through Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) through increased use in Information and Communication Technology.
  • Capacity assistance will be required by the policymakers, implementers, and other stakeholders at different levels to understand the concepts of retrofitting and redevelopment.
  • The State and ULBs have to play a key role in the development of Smart Cities. The vision of the leaders here will be an important factor in determining the success of the Mission.
  • The spirit of competitive and cooperative federalism is captured because this is the first MoUD program that is using the “Challenge” or competition method to select cities for funding and using a tactic of area-based development. 

By the integration of physical, social, economic, and institutional infrastructure, comprehensive and all-around development occurs. There has been observed a strong complementarity between the Smart Cities Mission and the AMRUT to achieve urban transformation.

Several benefits can be derived by seeking to intermix other Central and State  Government Programs/ Schemes with Smart Cities Mission. There can be convergence between Smart Cities Mission with Swachh Bharat, National Heritage City Development And Augmentation Yojana ( HRIDAY), Digital India, Skill Development, Housing for all, Constructions of Museums funded by the Culture Department, and other programs connected to social infrastructures such as Health, Education and Culture.

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