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Budget 2019: FM Piyush Goyal enhances allocation for smart cities by 7%

Since the launch of the mission, a total of 5,151 projects have been identified and are in various stages of implementation in 100 cities.

Vandana Ramnani @vandanaramnani1

The government has allocated Rs 6,600 crore for the Smart Cities Mission, which is about 7 percent more than the amount set aside last year.

The government last year had proposed over 50 percent increase in the allocation for smart cities in Budget 2018 from Rs 4,000 crore for 2017-2018 to Rs 6,169 crore for 2018-2019.

Under the programme, 100 Smart Cities have been selected in four rounds based on an all India competition. All 100 cities have incorporated Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). Since the launch of the mission, a total of 5,151 projects have been identified and are in various stages of implementation in 100 cities.

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As many as 534 projects worth Rs. 10,116 crore have been completed and implementation has commenced for 1,177 projects worth Rs 43,493 crore while tendering has started for 677 projects worth Rs 38,207 crore. The progress with respect to implementation of projects pertaining to smart solutions, smart roads, smart water and solar rooftops.

For Smart Command & Control Centres, projects worth Rs 1,558 crore in 11 cities have been completed while projects worth Rs 3,049 crore in 29 cities are under progress. Projects worth Rs. 2,730 crore in 21 cities have been tendered.

Smart Roads projects worth Rs. 228 crore in four cities have been completed while projects worth Rs 3,819 crore in 34 cities are under progress. Projects worth Rs. 2,069 crore in 10 cities are already tendered, as per Housing and Urban Affairs ministry data.

The Smart Cities Mission was launched on June 25, 2015. The first list of 20 cities announced on Jan 28 2016. The fast track list of 13 cities was announced on May 24 2016. The second list of 27 cities was announced on September 20 2016. The third list of 30 cities announced on June 23, 2017 and the final list was announced in January 2018.

Under the mission, the Centre allocates Rs 500 crore to each of the cities for implementing projects proposed by it. This amount is matched with a grant of the same amount by the respective state.

The mission aims to tackle problems faced in urban areas such as transportation, energy supply, governance, basic urban infrastructure services and overall quality of life.

It aims at providing technology solutions such as surveillance systems to reduce crime and improve safety of residents. Projects related to e-governance, mobility, integrated traffic management and solid waste management are also part of the mission.

The process starts with the formation of implementing agency, a special purpose vehicle (SPV), promoted by the state/union territory and the urban local body, with a 50 percent equity shareholding each.

The initiative is two-pronged—greenfield (new) cities get built smart since a large component of their infrastructure is yet to come up, and brownfield or existing cities with well-established economic and social engines get 'smartened' through incremental improvements in existing infrastructure.

Under the mission, each state had to identify qualifying cities for central funds based on a proposal. Once shortlisted, cities would receive a grant of Rs 100 crore per year for five years.

While experts welcome the move to increase the allocation for smart cities mission, they also point out that the biggest challenge is that the budget allocated so far remains unfulfilled – cities are not spending the amount allocated to them.

A healthy situation may emerge when there are more projects executed on ground and cities actually fall short of the amount allocated to them, they opined.

vandana.ramnani@nw18.com

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First Published on Feb 1, 2019 03:53 pm
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