Challenge of Making Smart Cities in India Asie.Visions, No 87, October 2016
The Indian government has launched the Smart Cities Mission in June 2015 with the aim of providing a better quality of life to the citizens in 100 cities of the country. This paper describes the main features of the Mission and attempts to explain the challenges in the way forward.
The information provided in the paper is presented in six sections.
Section one highlights the unique characteristics of India’s cities and establishes the need for better urban management. The second section describes five negative effects of urbanization to which sufficient attention has not been paid. These include informal growth in peri-urban areas, escalating water crisis, social exclusion, extension of slums, and mismanagement of solid waste. In the next section, the impact of past urban reform initiatives is discussed and attention is drawn to the difficulties being faced in overcoming some enduring challenges. Section four provides detailed information about India’s Smart Cities Mission including the process followed in the selection of cities, the plan preparation and implementation strategy. Then, an assessment of the relevance and soundness of the Mission is proposed in the fifth section.
In the concluding section, a list of propositions is put forward for the successful achievement of the Mission goals. It is emphasized that civic institutions should correctly understand a city’s social, economic and physical requirements and its diversity, and respond accordingly. At the same time, citizens should show a greater sense of civic responsibility.