35% Of India's Population To Benefit From Smart Cities

by CXOtoday News Desk    Aug 28, 2015


There are about 12 crore people in the country who will be the direct beneficiaries of the Smart City project. The total population of these proposed 98 Smart Cities is about 12 crore accounting for 35 per cent of country’s total urban population as per the 2011 census, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said while releasing the list.

Naidu also said that his government’s prime motive was to enhance urban life. “Smart cities need smart people. We need people’s co-operation to move forward in our mission. He added that smart cities will have the core infrastructure and will give a quality and decent life to citizens. It will enable a clean environment and provide smart solutions to problems.

Post the announcement, Dr. Devendra Kumar Pant, Chief Economist, India Ratings & Research told CXOtoday, “Selection of smart cities is first step. Major challenge is to provide quality urban services such as 24X7 water supply, sanitation, drainage, solid waste management, sewage treatment. Looking at finances of urban local bodies, which are far from healthy, provision of these services will be challenging.”

Read more: Smart City: Monetization Models Yet To Evolve

Levying of user charges to recover cost of provision of these services will be crucial to maintain quality of these services, Pant said, adding that in the process of smart cities focus should not divert from providing urban services in other cities and make them more liveable.

As per the profile of the selected cities, 35 cities and towns have a population between one and five lakh. There are 21 cities with population ranging between five and 10 lakh. 25 cities have population of above 10 lakh and below 25 lakh. A set of 5 cities are in the population range of 25 to 50 lakhs. Four cities - Chennai, Greater Hyderabad, Greater Mumbai and Ahmedabad have population of about above 50 lakh each. Out of 98 cities, 24 are capital cities, another 24 are business and industrial centres, 18 are of cultural and tourism importance, 5 are port cities, and 3 being education and health care hubs.The cities which have have population of one lakh and below but figure in the list are Silvassa, Diu, Kavaratti, Pasighat in Arunachal and Namchi in Sikkim.

New Town near Kolkata in Bengal, Panaji in Goa and Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh are among 8 cities which are in the Smart City list. Bidhannagar, Durgapur, Haldia are other three cities to be developed as Smart City in West Bengal.Chennai, Erode, Salem, Coimbatore, Madurai and Vellore are among 12 cities from Tamil Nadu that find place in the list.
While Dehradun from Uttarakhand and Agartala from Tripura have been selected, Greater Hyderabad and Greater Warangal are from Telangana. Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar have found place in the list from Punjab while Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from Odisha bagged the slots.
From Rajasthan besides Ajmer, pink city Jaipur alongwith Udaipur and Kota find place in the list. Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Surat and Rajkot are among six cities from Gujarat that got the nod.Ranchi and Dharamshala will represent Jharkhand and Himachal respectively in the list. Karnal and Faridabad from Haryana and Kochi from Kerala are in the coveted list released by the centre. Biharsharif, Bhagalpur and Muzafarpur from Bihar while Vishakhapatnam, Tirupati and Kakinada from Andhra have also found place in the list.
Indian government’s Smart City project is a growth avenue for enterprises, which are optimistic about leveraging newer technologies like IoT. The government plans to develop 100 smart cities at Rs 7060 crore by 2022. 

According to Cisco, the IoE (Internet of Everything) total value at stake in India is USD 511 billion over the next 10 years. Of the total IoE at stake, public sector value at stake is USD 116 billion, which includes creating smart cities and citizen services such as health and education.

“Public private partnership will be key in taking this initiative further, residents along with city leadership will be instrumental in implementing Smart Cities across the country,” says Anand Navani, Country Manager, Verint Systems India.

Read more: IBM’s Smarter Approach To India’s Smart Cities

However, a major challenge to the Smart City project is the broadband availability. India ranks 122 in the world for broadband penetration (The Broadband Commission) and its average Internet speed is 1.5 Mbps, the lowest among Asia Pacific region. Only 4.9 per cent of Indians have access to speed higher than 4 Mbps, says a report by Akamai Technologies.

Capacity constraints and integration of legacy data are major challenges in its implementation, coupled with change management and coordination among various departments that cause delay in administrative approvals.