Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has said that to achieve sustainable growth, the cities will have to become more liveable and safer with clean air; adequate infrastructure; reliable utilities; and opportunities for learning and employment. Inaugurating a two-day Apex Conference on Smart Cities in Delhi yesterday, he said, the solution lies in inclusive urbanization processes that prioritize quality of life for all, focusing especially on the needs of vulnerable urban groups for employment, housing, sanitation, healthcare and education.
It was also informed that all 100 Smart Cities have established their SPVs, constituted their City Level Advisory Forum (CLAF) and all cities have appointed PMCs, indicating that all these Smart Cities are in Mission mode. Integrated Command and Control Centres becoming operational in 15 cities has resulted in enhanced efficiency in governance, management of traffic, law enforcement, improved citizen grievance redressal and reduced criminal incidents on city streets and public spaces. ICCCs have also reduced traffic violations, improved efficiency in solid/liquid waste management, water and wastewater management as well as air quality management.
Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary MoHUA, in his inaugural address said that citizens are at the core of Smart City Mission and added that it has the largest level of citizen engagement. He outlined other parameters for Smart Cities saying they must have efficient use of resources; cooperative and competitive federalism; integration, innovation and sustainability; technology and inclusiveness. Mishra emphasized on three core ideas of Smart Cities, i.e., liveability, economic ability and sustainability. and pointed out that various other Government Missions of MoHUA are also part of the process of improving Indian towns and cities. “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”, he added.
Elaborating further, Mishra said that cities in India have become a centre of focus for business and are a means to enhance livelihoods. “India must rejuvenate its cities promptly to address the increasing aspirations of urban dwellers and attract the investment that will further drive growth and development. Cities in India face a range of challenges to meet demand and supply gaps in urban regions, in such areas as water, waste management, energy, mobility, the built environment, education, healthcare and safety. The plans announced by the Government for 100 smart cities and 500 Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) cities are being implemented in a structured approach towards urban management. These programmes have opened up avenues for local industry and global players to participate in the development of cities across such sectors as utilities, housing, mobility, telecommunications, information technology, healthcare, education and recreational facilities,” he informed.
The Conference will hold discussion on subjects like : Ease of Living – How Smart Cities Mission is making an impact on ease of living for citizens; Connected Communities – How Smart Cities Mission is creating Connected Communities; Urban Resilience and Sustainability – How Smart Cities Mission is making Indian cities resilient and sustainable; Smart Governance – How Smart Cities Mission is creating a Smart Governance ecosystem in Indian cities etc.Over 130 experts from several countries will participate in the conference. The Conference is expected to chart out a roadmap for implementing Smart Cities mission.