New Delhi : Urbanisation is like any technology created to fulfil a human need, said Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary and Mission Director (Smart Cities Mission), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India.
He spoke during the fifth Smart Cities Summit and the third Smart Urban Innovation Awards organised by the business chamber FICCI.
Mr Kumar said, “urbanisation perhaps is that technology which enables growth because it brings people together. It makes sharing, matching, and learning skills and expertise possible, which we call agglomeration benefits in scientific terms”.
The shift towards urbanisation is a relatively new phenomenon globally. Urbanisation was around 3 per cent in the 1800s when the industrial revolution set afoot. It required denser populations for manufacturing activities.
We are about 50 per cent urbanised now, Kumar said, adding that “we may, at the moment, be standing at the cusp of another Industrial Revolution. So we will have to be better managers of the reality that presents itself as we go forward; it could be the sustainability requirements, geopolitical situations, energy resources”, he said.
Speaking on occasion, Dr O P Agarwal, Chairman, FICCI Urban Transformation Committee & Chief Executive Officer, World Resources Institute, alluded to four critical reasons smart cities are incredibly crucial for the country. These include the enormous demographic transition due to cities doubling their population over the next 30 years. Two: equipping cities to accommodate and enable the growth target of a $10 Trillion Economy by 2030. Three, preparying cities to take the right actions to accomplish net-zero targets as 70% of the future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will occur in cities. Four, avoid a situation like the COVID pandemic as cities provide fertile grounds for viruses to breed and wreak havoc.
“Cities have to be equipped to provide jobs, education, health care, recreation, shelter, and a host of other services”, he said, adding, “this is something that a developing country like India cannot ignore”.
Mr Balasubramanian Shanmugakumar, Head of Digital Business – Telecom, L&T Smart World & Communication, said there is a big difference between the urbanisation fifty years back to what it is today. “What urbanisation is going to mean for our children in the next 30 years will be vastly different”, he said and added, “urbanisation is a journey of excellence”.
Several innovative projects won recognition during the Smart Urban Innovation Awards. The third edition of the award was conferred upon ten companies across eleven categories. Seventy corporate organisations had applied for the awards.
Solinas Integrity won under the Smart Water Category for its project – Leak detection and condition assessment of pipelines for reducing non-revenue water & supporting 24*7 water supply. Under the Smart Mobility category, EVIFY Logitech was the winner for their project – Last-Mile Deliveries through EVs.
Daulat Ram Engineering’s project – Leaf Composting Bins, won under the category Green and Low Carbon Cities. On the other hand, the Automated Zero Waste System of Trashcon Labs won in the Smart Solid Waste Management category.
In addition, Cairn Oil & Gas (Vedanta Ltd) was the winner under Smart Education for its project – E Kaksha and Urinalytics Healthcare’s I-Toilet (Indicative Toilet) won under the Smart Health category.
Satsense Solutions and Softtech Engineers were declared joint winners under the category of Disruptive Solutions. In addition, Foxberry Technologies’ for their project Emergency Decision Support System to Combat Covid-19 won under the City Safety, Disaster Management and Emergency Response category.
Infoblox won under Cybersecurity for its project Securing the Smart City – Aizawl. Further, NICDC, Anthill Creations, and MOD Foundation received jury mention for their commendable initiatives under the Smart Infrastructure category. eQuadriga has also received a jury mention in the citizen collaboration category for their project Smart Trichy Mobile App.