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Every state will get to develop at least one Smart City under the central government’s initiative of developing 100 smart cities, assured Urban Development Minister M.Venkaiah Naidu in Rajya Sabha.
“Every state will be getting at least one Smart City under the 100 Smart City initiative. The Union Cabinet has accorded approval for the Smart Cities Mission last week and guidelines for its implementation including the criteria for selection of cities are being finalised,” said Naidu.
The process of selection of cities for developing them as Smart Cities will be initiated after the guidelines are issued to the States.
Defining the concept of the Smart City, in the upper house Naidu said, “One(City) having provision of basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of Smart Solutions, keeping citizens at the centre”.
The Smart Cities Mission involves ‘an area based approach’ and it is meant to set examples that can be replicated both within and outside the Smart City. The mission is expected to catalyze creation of similar Smart Cities in various regions and parts of the country.
The cities will be selected based on a ‘City Challenge Competition’, where each city will be graded based on their revenues, expenditure, availability of infrastructure relating to transport, drinking water, solid waste management. The minister also informed that no financial support will be extended from the United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) in making Visakhapatnam, Allahabad and Ajmer as Smart Cities. The US will extend technical support for preparing master plans for these three cities besides assisting in capacity building and undertaking feasibility studies. USTDA has signed MoU with the States of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in this regard.
The Union Cabinet recently cleared the 100 smart cities spread across the country and a new urban renewal mission named after Atal Bihari Vajpayee, replacing the existing one named after Jawaharlal Nehru, with a total outlay of Rs 98,000 crore for the next five years.