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