An upgradation from Area Based Development to City Based Approach

The Smart Cities Mission India, started as the Flagship programme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the year 2015. The mission was initiated with an aim to develop existing 100 Indian Cities into Smart Cities. These Smart Cities are the next generation of Indian cities that would establish a citizen-government engagement and needful urban infrastructure with ‘Smart Solutions’ for the city. A competition based approach adopted to determine the selection of the 100 Smart Cities, which was then allotted an amount of ₹48,000 Crores. Under this competition, the states nominated its cities that were viable and had the potential to upgrade itself to become a next generation city. In this process, the nominated cities put forth their own plans for city development by providing modern solutions, in accordance with the idea of Smart Cities.

Today, the mission is in its fifth year of implementation. Providing an update on the Smart cities Mission, Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary, Smart Cities Mission Director, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Government of India launched the recent Smart City Progress Report. According to the report, out of the 5,000 projects that were commenced, 1,100 projects have been completed worth ₹201 billion, 3,880 have been tendered worth ₹1,004 billion while 3,100 projects worth ₹1,418 billion have received the permission to be started. Remnant projects are aimed to be tendered out by March 2020. 

Sanitation and Waste Management :

The Smart Cities Mission have the idea of IT based governance and digital cities at the core of their execution and since citizen convenience has always been the foremost agenda of the government, Smart Cities focus on ways of digital interfaces for providing ease of life for its citizens. One of the recent digital interface initiatives is being used in Jabalpur for upgrading the system of waste collection, segregation and disposal of Municipal Solid waste (MSW) thereby improving the sanitation status of the overall city. The city has every household RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) geotagged with a central command station established to monitor the overall working. RFID is a form of wireless communication, it incorporates the use of electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to uniquely identify an object, animal or person. Under this Smart IT Solid Waste Management System, all the sanitation workers have been assigned RFID devices and as the household waste is collected, the employee scans the RFID installed device outside the house. As soon as the device is scanned, a message is sent to the resident of the house as a confirmation that the waste has been collected. Also, if the resident still has any issue or complaint, the resident can contact the control room directly for further process. Along with it, the waste collection vehicles are GPS enabled to ensure their proper monitoring and management. Jabalpur Smart City Limited has built a waste to energy plant at Kathonda for disposal of municipal solid waste for the 79 wards of Jabalpur Municipal Corporation. The plant is operational and produces energy from the collected waste. The Internet of Things in this system also includes Smart Bins, that weigh the dust and detects its level to send signals regarding its status which is sent to operator engaged for collection and transportation of waste. The process has been possible and is proving to be a success due to active public participation. The modern and smart solutions proposed and being worked on are deeply embedded in a digitized manner, and are being executed at the city level. Similar initiative is being executed in Bhopal. this initiative is majorly responsible for it receiving the title of ‘Cleanest City in India’. 

Urban Mobility Solutions :

The growth of cities in terms of economic opportunities leads to demographic change, in turn changing the whole urban scenario of the city and its suburbs. To cater to a proper functioning of these cities and meet their needs a Smart Transport System is required for efficient commute in city centres, suburbs and between the two. It forms the crux of a city’s working. The Smart Cities Solutions for mobility options being proposed are not only cost-effective, but also environmentally sustainable. The most prevalent modes include Public Bicycle Sharing System, E-Rickshaws, Bus Rapid Transit Corridors and E-vehicles. Apart from introducing new means of commuting, many existing transport systems are being upgraded in the ways they function.

For ease of transportation, the systems are being upgraded with proper infrastructure, surveillance and security systems equipped with proper management systems monitored using artificial intelligence and ICT. 

Integrated City Administration and Safety and Security Services:

Bhopal has been awarded by the Government of India’s Department of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation for the initiative of ‘Integrated Command Control Centre’. It is envisaged by Madhya Pradesh Urban Administration and Development Department in order to establish a Common Cloud based Data Centre for Smart Cities (CCDCSC) and Integrated City Command and Control Centre (ICCC). The Integrated Command Control Centre at Bhopal is unique; as it is beneficial for the management of all the city’s civic functions. The ICCC has all the seven smart cities in the state of Madhya Pradesh have been connected via this portal. The portal provides 20 services for citizens ease, these include – C.M. Helpline, Solid Waste Management, Traffic and Roads Support Service, Disaster Management Services,  Emergency service like Fire, Police and Health services. Along with it city level services like Public Bike Sharing, Smart street lights are also being monitored and controlled via this portal. Similar portals of Integrated Command and Control Centre are operational in the cities of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Pune, Nagpur, Rajkot, Visakhapatnam, Bhopal and Kakinada with Naya Raipur being the latest addition. 

Smart Education:

Smart Cities have been continuously working on the city development to improve the lifestyle of people by upgrading the existing infrastructure and introducing new ones. Since education forms the backbone of development, considerable work is being done to advance the ways by which knowledge is imparted to students.

Programmes like ‘Smart Classrooms’ are being introduced in government schools whereby students would learn by digital media. These are the new age schools where education system in Smart Cities would possess software-mediated, highly coded, and data-driven infrastructure. These technologies will be useful to evaluate every student and help weaker students providing equal opportunities for everyone and make them active citizens in the shaping of the future.

The Smart Cities is a holistic approach in accordance with the other flagship programmes. It is the component in the urban areas that binds the flagship programmes like the Swachh Bharat Mission, Digital India, PMAY and other city development programmes. The rate of urbanization in India is expected to grow by 60% in the coming years. To cater to this growth and work on reverse migration from Mega Cities to Tier II cities, Smart Cities Programme’s approach will be influential in shaping up the country’s urban scenario for the next 30 decades.     

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