Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu recently asserted that smart city development is based on the shared vision of citizens and respective city governments and not imposed by the central government. He spoke at length on the objectives and design of Smart City Mission at a National Workshop on Urban Transformation.
Naidu clarified that the mission guidelines do not impose any restrictions on the extent of the area in mission cities to be selected for Area Based Development as it is left to the city governments and citizens. Further elaborating on this Naidu said in the case of Vellore in Tamil Nadu, the area chosen for development accounts for 55% of total city area, 24% in case of Dharmashala in Himachal Pradesh and 20% in case of Kalyan-Dombivili and in several cities it comes to more than 10% of total city area. In terms of population, people residing in the area chosen for development, account for 85% of the total city population in Dharmashala, 38% in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh and 33% in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
Naidu further said, “To argue that Area Based Development under Smart City Mission benefits the people of that area only is a huge distortion. It will certainly benefit other citizens as well in several ways.”
Explaining the major break from the past in respect of timely project formulation, approval and execution, Naidu said while only 39% of 3,138 basic urban infrastructure projects approved during 2005-14 under JNNURM were completed in time, 47% of the 11,705 projects approved during the last two years are already under implementation and would be completed by the stipulated timeline of 2019-20. He complimented city governments for rising to the occasion to enable the much desired urban transformation by working with new enthusiasm.