The smart way to make the troublesome lives of many people better.
For ages, the whole country and its inhabitants have felt the need for a smart, modern and agile India. Many governments have made concrete promises of developing and fixing the numerous loopholes in terms of infrastructure, development, connectivity and urbanizing cities. However, only recently, we can see the gears turning up and India heading towards progress.
Why are smart cities crucial for India’s development?
India is the second-most populous country in the world. Therefore, we definitely are dealing with an overpopulation crisis here. Serving and catering to the needs of the population is becoming an increasingly difficult task. No matter how much effort you put in, some people are always left out from the benefits. This problem can only be solved when our cities and facilities are democratized, revolutionized and urbanized keeping in mind carbon-neutral and sustainable development goals.
The main areas where cities face problems in India are waste management, water pollution, air pollution, sustainability, traffic jams, and other pressing issues like crime. These issues cannot be resolved just by putting hands, brains and feet together. It needs smarter solutions. Therefore, the government has come up with a smart city mission to make this country a better place for our future generations.
The main objective of the smart city mission will be to develop and provide modern infrastructure and give a decent life to the residents all around the clock. Issues like scarcity of electricity and clean drinking water, better public transportation, use of modern technology for navigation, internet and temperature determination will be catered to in these plans.
Important concerns regarding the environment will also be looked after in smart city missions. Climate change is a world concern and India has to contribute its fair share in solving this crisis. Therefore, cleaner, sustainable and environment-friendly practices will have to be included in the smart city mission.
India’s Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for implementing this project countrywide. These programs will be a joint collaboration of the central and the respective state governments. According to the current plan, these plans are set to start and end in the time period of 2020 to 2023. Apart from West Bengal, all states and union territories are taking part in the mission by nominating at least one of their cities for the initiative.
In FY 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allotted a budget of INR 6,450 to the smart city mission highlighting various issues to be eliminated for the progress of the country. The flow of funds is said to increase for the Ministry of Urban Development shortly. The pandemic has slowed down the process of implementation, allotment, planning and construction of many smart city initiatives. But, once the COVID-19 scenario improves, these projects are going to be in full swing.
The scheme will also help in economic development and will create numerous employment opportunities in the near future.
According to Business Standard, the Centre and state governments had proposed to spend Rs 48,000 crore each over five years. By June 23, 2021, Rs 40,622 crore (42%) of the Rs 96,000 crore was released. Rs 27,862 crore (69%) was utilised, according to utilisation certificates submitted by the cities.
Though these projects are slow to progress and completion, we have hope that after the pandemic and some economic stability, these plans will be fast-tracked and resumed for work.