100 Smart Cities in India

The Indian government plans to develop 100 smart cities. Rs 7,060 crore was allotted in the first budget, towards this smart idea. The vision, however, seems to lack a proper action plan. Is it possible to “smart”en up our existing cities? Typically these cities have a million challenges to grapple with – obsolete drainage design, tangled electric wires, unfinished water supply lines, scarcity of vehicle movement space & choked parking. Besides, we are yet to define a “Smart City”. Is it just a city with a smart transportation system? Or, is it about efficient e-governance?

The impression that one carries is that conversion of existing cities to being smart partially may not really be successful. So, would it be better to build a few completely new green-field smart cities from scratch after evaluating the models followed in Songdo in South Korea or Masdar in Abu Dhabi? This can potentially have the best of water, power, sewage, hygiene, waste management, rain water management, vehicle movement & parking, security, e-governance, hygiene, health care and education facilities that India can have.

The detailed action plan on 100 smart cities by the Government of India is eagerly awaited. I am sure it is worth the wait!

                                                                                                           – H T Ramakrishna