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Answer – The objective of Indian government’s Smart Cities initiative is to improve the quality of urban living for all residents with the use of smart technologies. That said, the transformation from a ‘normal’ city to a ‘smart city’ is more evolution than revolution. A smart city is different than normal cities in terms of liveability, workability and sustainability. The information and communications technology (ICT) component used in infrastructure will do most of the heavy-lifting work such as improving infrastructure, environment and governance through data-driven systems.

Apart from highly advanced infrastructure and evolved residential experience, citizens of Smart Cities will also get advantages like:

  1. Overall digital connectivity, which means that broadband communications infrastructure and innovative services will combine to meet the needs of the Government and its employees as well as citizens and businesses
  2. Collective intelligence, which not only helps urban planners and increases the city’s competitiveness but also provides opportunities for active participation from citizens in processes that make Smart Cities smarter
  3. Open government thanks to open data.

Answer – It would be a mistake to assume that only high-earning college graduates or tech-savvy younger citizens will receive the benefits in Smart Cities. The objective of this movement is to improve the quality of urban living for all residents, not just the young and rich. Nevertheless, Smart Cities will still have to ‘sell’ themselves to the common man, who will need to be made aware of how this transformation could improve their lives. With the deep penetration of smartphones into our society, getting citizens to understand the value of connectivity should not be too big a challenge.

Answer – To think that better services will come with additional costs is a mistake, since the smart initiatives employed in these cities will reduce many costs and improve productivity, in turn reducing the burden on their residents. Also, Smart City implementation will mostly come as a government subsidy and not as a loaded expense on residents.

Answer – Areas with better infrastructure will fetch better real estate value due to higher demand and hence, in Smart Cities formation, land and property values will increase. The implementation of Smart Cities will have to be looked at in totality instead of a few locations in isolation.

>Answer – If Smart City principles are implemented strictly, these property markets will address demands of the end-users and not speculative investors. The formation of housing development corporations and other authorities as part of smart governance will prevent speculation from these realty markets.

Answer – Rupees Two Crore released for each shortlisted city is to take care of A&OE expenses, including the preparation of Smart City Proposal (SCP). However, separate funding will be provided from the World Bank assisted CBUD Project for meeting the cost for payment to Consulting Firms.

Answer – While preparing SCP, cities must make convergence of SCM with other Government Schemes. For example, core infrastructure projects for entire city could be taken up under AMRUT, SBM and HRIDAY and then area selected for development as smart city could be taken up and smart solutions could be applied under SCM. Further, apart from the convergence with other schemes, there are a lot of other sources been identified for financing the SCM which can be seen in para 11.3 of the SCM guidelines.

Answer – AMRUT and SCM are complimentary to each other. Cities may take up the core infrastructure for the full city under AMRUT and choose areas for development under the Smart City Mission. In due course, the City can replicate the area based development to other areas of the City.

Answer – Dr. Arvind Mayaram, India’s Finance Secretary, and Mr. Shankar Agarwal, Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development, were of the view that a focus on implementation and strong partnerships will be critical in realizing the potential of India’s smart cities, and questions such as what supporting interventions and investments are required, areas where the private sector can come in, and what legal frameworks will be needed must be addressed.

Answer – Resilience is an important aspect while making SCP and has been emphasized in the mission guidelines and is one of the criteria to evaluate the SCP (Annexure 4, criteria 5.c, page 35).

Answer – Comprehensive Capacity Building Programme (CCBP) has been re-aligned with AMRUT and Smart Cities Mission, under which adequate human resources on ground will be placed (State & City MMUs) to provide human resources to provide technical support to States/ ULBs.

Answer – The Smart City Mission will receive financial assistance from the Centre to the extent of Rs. 48,000 Crore over 5 years on an average of Rs. 100 Crore per city per year. An equal amount, on similar basis, will have to be contributed by the State/ULBs. Therefore, Smart cities will have a total fund of almost Rs. 1 lakh Crore. However since this covers only part of the estimated project cost, balance funds are expected to be mobilized by ULBs/States through Public-Private Partnerships, FFC recommendations, municipal bonds, convergence with other Government schemes such as Swachh Bharat Mission, HRIDAY and AMRUT Mission among other avenues.

Answer – For the purpose of monitoring the project, the MoUD has established an Apex Committee and National Mission Directorate for National-level monitoring and a High Powered Steering Committee for state-level monitoring. At the city level, there shall be a Smart City Advisory Forum headed by the CEO of the SPV and the forum will invite collaboration from citizens and various stakeholders and will include the District Collector, MP, MLA, Mayor, local youths, technical experts and representatives of Associations.