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Mega Urbanization Drive: Govt. Approves Rs 48k Cr for 100 Smart Cities!

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New Delhi's Smart City Transformation Has Begun; NDMC To Start 3D MappingIn one of the biggest ever push for creating a world class urban structure in India, the cabinet has approved a mega urbanization drive which involves total budget of Rs 1 lakh crore. Rs 48,000 crore has been allocated to create 100 smart cities across India, while Rs 50,000 crore has been set aside to renovate, rejuvenate 500 Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities all over India.

Urban planners and developers are stating that Independent India has never witnessed such a huge scale of infrastructure development vision ever.

Mission Smart Cities

Rs 48,000 crore would be spent to create 100 smart cities across the country. In order to derive maximum results, and to ensure that all smart cities are world class, a special ‘City Challenge Competition’ would be initiated.

Every state will have to nominate their best cities for converting them into a smart city, using the ‘City Challenge Competition’, the most eligible cities would be allocated the budget. A ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ would be created, which will act as a mediator between the city governing body, state govt. and central govt.

Encouraging a healthy living, with focus on environmental issue and creating world class urban structures, smart cities will drastically improve standard of living in urban locations, and induce usage of technology to build a better India.

Within the smart city project, there are basically four sub-heads which would be implemented on a case to case basis: Retrofitting, Redevelopment, Pan-city initiatives and Development of new cities.

Hence, the development plans initiated in Ahmedabad can be classified under Retrofitting, wherein the deficiencies would be identified, and worked upon. Old Delhi can be clubbed under Redevelopment, wherein pre-existing urban body’s needs to be converted into a smart city using modern technology. Pan city initiatives would be to implement a city-wise solution which will positively impact all citizens such as smart public commute system or a Internet connectivity. Development of new smart city would be another area where Govt. will work on.

The process of creating smart cities have already started, as India’s first International financial Service Centre (IFSC) came up at the Gujarat International Financial Tec (GIFT) earlier this month. In fact, GIFT City has been hailed as India’s first smart city. In Gujarat, Surat is also developing their own smart city, so is India’s capital New Delhi where a similar project has been given green signal.

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) of 500 cities

Urban Development Ministry has renamed Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) into Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) which will carry on the existing development work of Indian cities, and make them more robust to sustain the new age of development and progress.

All JNNURM projects sanctioned between 2005 and 2012, which have completed 50% using the Central Govt. assistance would be supported by the Govt. till March 2017. There are already around 400 such projects, which will get immediate assistance and would be completed before March 2017.

Between 2005 and 2014, Rs 42,900 crore has been spent under JNNURM, out of which Rs 36,398 crore has been provided from Central Govt. As new guidelines under AMRUT, Central Govt. will offer upto 30% of the overall costs to renovate a city with more than 10 lakh population and 50% for those cities which have less than 10 lakh population.

Some of the major areas of city development which would be covered under AMRUT are: water supply, sewerage management, storm water drains, transport and development of green spaces and parks. Some of the high end, smart city initiative such as e-governance, constitution of professional municipal cadre, devolving funds and functions to urban local bodies, review of building bye-laws would also be integrated into the AMRUT program.

Overall, it is being estimated than more than Rs 2 lakh crore would flow into urban development and planning sector in the next 5 years, with 30-40% contribution coming in from state govt. and urban local bodies. A PPP (Public Private Partnership) based model is also being considered to raise some funds for these mega urban projects.

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