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What is the future of digital infrastructure under the Smart Cities Mission?

Jun 24, 2022 12:09 PM IST

Since the urban local bodies play a decisive role in planning, provision, and delivery of services, the digital infrastructure created under the Smart Cities Mission should be handed over to them

Representative Image.

Gaurav Mittal and Khaliq Parkar

When the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) was launched on June 25, 2015, it did not define ‘Smart’. The emphasis however, was clearly on creating digital infrastructure, and utilising technology solutions for urban management and service delivery.

Many cities have managed to roll out digital infrastructure since then — the most ubiquitous of these are the Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs) that doubled as war-rooms for many cities during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, cities installed other digital infrastructures — sensors to measure traffic flows, on-board units that monitor municipal vehicles, smart-poles that perform multiple sensing, monitoring, and networking functions, and numerous apps for citizen services.

As cities scramble to finish projects before the looming closure of the SCM next year, it is an opportune moment to ask: what happens to the city’s digital infrastructure and the data it produces?