India Trudges Along on the Smart City Mission
Only 5% of smart city projects have been finished in the last two and a half years. Such is the pace at which the Narendra Modi government’s tech-savvy smart city mission has been progressing. 90 cities have so far been identified to be developed as smart cities under the Smart City Mission by the government after three rounds of competition for deploying the various projects that constitute the smart cities mission. The government has pledged an investment of about Rs two lakh crores for developing smart cities out of these 90 cities.
The reports on the progress of smart cities suggest that the identified projects have been completed with 1.4 percent of the planned investment. As per the mission statement and guidelines, the duration of the mission is five years, from 2015-16 to 2019-20 and each city will get Rs 500 crore as central assistance for implementing various projects. About 72 percent of the identified projects are still at the stage of preparation of detailed project report. However, according to an official Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry statement, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has recently informed a Parliamentary consultative committee that projects worth Rs 1,35,459 crore are in various stages of implementation. 147 projects worth Rs 1,872 crore have been completed, it added.
Puri said the implementation of the mission is done by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to be set up at city-level in the form of a limited company and are promoted by the State/UT and the Urban Local Body (ULB) jointly both having 50:50 equity shareholding. So far 77 smart cities have established their SPVs, he informed. Puri said the tendering process has started for 283 projects with a cost of Rs 16,549 crore and detailed project reports are being prepared for 2,029 projects worth Rs 1,02,366 crores.