Smart City Mission has begun to change the approaches of city governments, says Venkaiah Naidu

New Delhi: Minister of Urban Development M.Venkaiah Naidu today asserted that implementation of Smart City Mission is certainly changing the way the city governments are addressing issues of urban planning and execution. He spoke on various aspects of development of smart cities in the country at the Knowledge sharing workshop on ‘Smart Cities and Informed Urbanisation’ here today, organized by NITI Ayog and University of New South Wales, Australia.

Stating that Smart City Mission aims at improving livability in cities, Shri Naidu said the broad objectives of the Mission are: Sustainable urban planning and development, Management of urban affairs with citizens’ participation, Area based development, Resilience to climate change, natural disasters etc and Technology based solutions for better governance and infrastructure management.

The Minister further said that all new urban sector missions launched over the last two years aim at inclusive urban development benefitting all sections.

Vice-Chairman of NITI Ayog Dr.Arvind Panagariya said the Government has selected 100 cities for smart city development based on competition without any iota of controversy and was highly laudable. Basic features of a smart city include slum free city environment, proper delivery of city services including clean water and quality and assured power, affordable housing and meeting the needs of children, women and the aged. He stressed on the need for optimal use of scarce urban land through vertical development.

NITI Ayog Member Dr.Vivek Debroy stated that Smart City Mission is not aimed at disbursing public money but to recast urban landscape through other means of resource mobilization and promoting best urban practices.

Shri Rajiv Gauba, Secretary (Urban Development) said “Smart City Mission is not a typical project oriented programme but a process driven by the ambition of the citizens for better living and is not limited by time”. He said the first batch of 20 smart cities have come out with projects with potential for visible impact on ground. He clarified that Special Purpose Vehicle being constituted for implementation of smart city plans are not parallel power structures but are accountable execution tools with the involvement of Mayors and elected Representatives of People in advisory bodies. Smart city mission implementation seeks to ensure core services of high quality, transformation of old and neglected neighbourhoods and adoption of technology based solutions.