India needs to shine, late than never. I’m no politically involved, except when I am casting my vote and choosing the right party for the government in the country. This time, it is BJP with huge promises, and although it takes time for things to happen, it never really happened in the recent past, and now, the trust is on this new government, led by a man who has a good track record for “development” – Narendra Modi.
The government has already proposed concrete steps to implement Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agreement of building 100 ‘smart cities’ – eco-friendly cities which use ingenious Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for effective delivery of public services and infrastructure.
PM Modi’s pet idea of building 100 ‘smart cities’ would need enormous financial resources and technological prowess. For both these essentials, India will have to look up to foreign countries. Many countries have articulates their interest towards this effort of the new Indian government. The Modi government has assigned Rs 7,060 crore (a little over $1.1 billion) in its inaugural union budget to kick start the smart cities project.
Singapore has appeared as a major foreign player in the Indian scheme of things in this context.
The Indian government plans to deliver 3 smart cities by 2019, all of which will be part of the larger project called Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). These smart cities, scheduled to be completed by 2019, are Dholera, Shendra-Bidkin and Global City.
Actually the DMIC project brings out setting up seven green field smart cities between Delhi and Mumbai. The DMIC is an excellent ambitious $90 billion project initiated by the UPA government. The Indian government is working closely with Singapore to develop a virtual city or a “Little Singapore” along the corridor (DMIC).
India is eyeing Singapore’s proficiency in this vital area which will come in handy for cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
Besides, India is planning to utilize Singapore’s proficiency for renovation of existing cities. The Planning Commission has already recognised cities for utilizing Singapore’s proficiency in urban service delivery systems.
The zone-wise break-up of the embattled cities is as follows: North (Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Agra, Varanasi, Ludhiana); East (Kolkata, Patna, Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar); South (Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Vizag, Kochi); North East (Guwahati); Central (Indore, Bhopal); West (Greater Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Jaipur).
By 2051, half of India’s population is projected to exist in urban settlements. The urban India’s contribution to the national GDP is likely to be 75 % to 80 % then. The number of million plus cities is likely to breach the 100-mark and the number of urban centres over ten thousand.
This is why PM Modi’s focus on building 100 “smart cities” takes up relevance. It is a well thought futuristic project which throws up gargantuan challenges to urban administrators to make the cities really very ‘smart’ and make them sustainable and proficient.
Globally, cities constitute just two percent of the Earth’s surface – but they consume about 75 percent of the world’s resources. Thus cities and urban centres throw up a enormous sustainability challenge.
Development is where employment is needed, and creating jobs is one of the essentials in making the country better. Of course there are things other than this, that have to be tackled and taken care of, but things were at snails pace in the past, and now a steady pace is good enough, with contribution from the public in the country, and not just the government.