By Accommodation Times News Services
Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu today assured the Rajya Sabha that every State in the country will get to develop at least one city as Smart City under the central government’s initiative of developing 100 smart cities. Replying to a Starred Question raised by Dr.K.V.P.Ramachandra Rao in the Upper House, Shri Naidu said that the Union Cabinet accorded approval for the Smart Cities Mission last week and guidelines for its implementation including the criteria for selection of cities are being finalised. The Minister clarified that the process of selection of cities for developing them as smart cities will be initiated after the guidelines are issued to the States.
Naidu has broadly defined the concept of Smart City as “One(City) having provision of basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of Smart Solutions, keeping citizens at the centre”. He further said that the Smart Cities Mission involves ‘an area based approach’ and it is meant to set examples that can be replicated both within and outside the Smart City. Shri Naidu observed that this Mission is expected to catalyse creation of similar Smart Cities in various regions and parts of the country.
The Minister informed the House that Smart City aspirants will be selected based on a ‘City Challenge Competition’. He said that cities will be graded based on their revenues, expenditure, availability of infrastructure relating to transport, drinking water, solid waste management etc. Shri Naidu emphasized the need for smart leadership and smart people to achieve the objectives of the Smart Cities Mission by undertaking the much needed urban reforms.
Elaborating on the benefits of India-US Cooperation in making Visakhapatnam, Allahabad and Ajmer as Smart Cities, Shri Naidu said that that the US will extend technical support for preparing Master Plans for these three cities besides assisting in capacity building and undertaking feasibility studies etc. He clarified that there will be no financial support from the US. The United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) has signed MoU with the States of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in this regard.