New Delhi : India is in the midst of an urban revolution. According to the 2011 census of India, 31.2 percent of the total population-or 377 million people-lives in urban areas the share of India’s urban population has risen steadily during the past few decades, jumping from 6.2 percent in 1951 to 31.2 percent in 2011, and it is expected to touch 40 percent by 2031.
Among the various urbanization initiatives described above, India’s Smart Cities Mission garnered perhaps the most domestic and international attention. The objective of this initiative is to accelerate core infrastructure improvements in cities, provide a decent quality of life to citizens, offer a clean and sustainable environment, and readily apply smart solutions. With an area-based development approach, this initiative differs markedly from previous efforts, which tended to follow a project-based development approach. In turn, a number of unique opportunities and challenges are likely to emerge in particular regions. Indeed, the scope of India’s Smart Cities effort is quite ambitious. Its initial five-year window is from 2014-2015 to 2019-2020 with a total budget of INR 48,000 crore ($7.2 billion). The central government, moreover, plans to invest INR 500 crore ($75 million) per city during this period, and respective governments, ULBs, and private investors are expected to raise a matching amount. The initiative focuses on creating new business incentives, pushing state governments and ULBs to create a more business-friendly environment, and attract additional private capital for long-term infrastructure projects. Accordingly, 10 percent of the budget is reserved for incentive payments to respective state governments or union territories.
India continues to experience rapid urban expansion, public and private leaders at a national, state, and local level are looking into ways to better manage larger populations and unlock greater economic potential. Launched under Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015, the Smart Cities Mission is an ambitious multiyear effort to boost economic development, technological innovation, and sustainable growth across 100 cities. Learning from previous national urbanization initiatives, the Smart Cities Mission promises to simultaneously improve the infrastructure and built environment in India’s expanding cities while offering a new path to urban fiscal health. If successful, Indian cities will position themselves as clean, modern, and competitive places for years to come.
The report highlights governance challenges, infrastructure gaps, institutional arrangements, and financial tools that policymakers must consider to reach their local ambitions. Simply put, installing digital technologies alone will not deliver the results India hopes to achieve. The following report provide additional context in this respect, discussing several key initiatives undertaken by successive governments in India-both to upgrade urban spaces and promote them as durable engines of growth.
Source: Business Wire (press release)