Cabinet OKs Smart Cities Mission with 5-yr invest of 480 bln rupees

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet today cleared the much-awaited Smart Cities Mission or 100 smart cities project and approved an investment of 480 bln rupees for five years for the plan.

Under the Smart Cities Mission, each city selected for development would get central assistance of 1 bln rupees for five years, the government said in a release.

“This Mission of building 100 smart cities intends to promote adoption of smart solutions for efficient use of available assets, resources and infrastructure with the objective of enhancing the quality of urban life and providing a clean and sustainable environment,” the government said.

Under the smart cities initiative, the government will focus on core infrastructure services like adequate and clean water supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transportation.

Smart cities plan would also include affordable housing for poor, adequate power supply, robust information technology system, governance, among other things.

The urban development ministry, which is in charge of planning and executing the project, will conduct a competition called the City Challenge to select the cities that will be developed as part of the project.

The competition is aimed at linking financing with the ability of the cities to perform in order to achieve the project’s objectives.

Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu had earlier said he expected the project to be rolled out in May.

According to a ministry official, the cities will be selected for development in tranches. For instance, out of the 100 cities selected in the City Challenge, the first to be developed would be perhaps 10 or 15.

The 100 smart cities project had been pending for long. It was announced in the Union Budget for 2014-15 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Jul 10, 2014. Due to the delay in its implementation, some industry bodies had started voicing concerns over the project, which are likely to be put to rest now.

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