Q+A: Smart Cities Mission

With the deadline approaching for the Smart Cities Mission in June 2023, the Central Government has urged the poorly performing cities to speed up their projects. These projects were supposed to be completed within 5 years of the city’s selection.

What is Smart Cities Mission?

The Smart Cities Mission was launched in India in 2015 by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry to improve the quality of life in urban areas. The initiative aimed to create cities that are sustainable, efficient, and equipped with modern infrastructure. Under this mission, cities were asked to submit proposals for projects to improve municipal services and make their jurisdictions more liveable. After reviewing proposals, the Ministry selected 100 cities for the mission between January 2016 and June 2018.

What kind of projects are implemented under the Smart Cities Mission?

The project proposals submitted by the cities varied widely, ranging from simple tasks like making roads more accessible and pedestrian-friendly to capital-intensive ones like laying water pipelines and constructing sewage treatment plants. All 100 cities have also constructed Integrated Command and Control Centres to monitor all security, emergency, and civic services. These centres played a crucial role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, with many cities converting them into emergency response units.

What is the current status of the mission?

As of March 3, the 100 cities have issued work orders for 7,799 projects worth Rs 1.80 lakh crore. Out of these, 5,399 projects worth Rs.1.02 lakh crore have been completed, while the rest are ongoing. However, only around 20 cities are likely to meet the June deadline for completion, with the others needing more time to finish their projects. Cities selected in January and June 2018 have achieved 44% of their targets, while those selected in 2016 in the second round are not much farther ahead with 46% completion.

The government’s move to push poorly performing cities to complete their projects

With the deadline for completion fast approaching, the Indian government has urged 20 poorly performing cities to speed up their projects. Among the cities are six from the Northeast, five Union Territories, and three state capitals. These cities have completed the fewest projects under the Smart Cities Mission and are lagging behind others. These cities had been instructed and offered guidance to complete the projects within the stipulated time frame.




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