The timeline for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious '100 smart cities ' programme is out. According to M. Venkaiah Naidu, the minister of urban development, 20 cities will be taken up for modernisation this year.
The next year will see 40 more cities making it to the list, and the remaining 40 cities are expected to enter the list by 2017.
"In the first year, starting from 2015, we may think of 20 cities. In the next year, we will go for 40 cities and then 40 cities in the year after that," Naidu told Business Today in an exclusive interaction.
The Central government has plans to conduct a city challenge programme under which different cities will be competing with each other on various parameters, including self-financing ability, institutional capacities, existing service levels and past track record in implementing reforms.
Several state governments are pitching their cities to be a part of the 100 cities. Naidu, however, says that there will be a ceiling of two cities per state initially.
"Everybody wants a smart city. Every MP wants a smart city , every state government wants a smart city and every city wants to be a smart city," says Naidu.
"They are not able to understand its implications. First of all, we have to sensitise the people and tell them that the smart city programme would be focused on four strategies: retrofitting, redevelopment, Greenfield and pan-city infrastructure." Naidu added that the government must create some models and some pilot projects that will inspire other cities to join the challenge.
According to the government's smart city concept note released last year, the estimated investment requirements for water supply, sewerage, sanitation and transportation-related infrastructure will be Rs 7 lakh crore for 100 cities.
The minister said that the rough estimates show that it will require around Rs 40 lakh crore in 20 years to ensure basic infrastructure in all urban areas, including 500 cities and smart cities. "The government alone cannot provide this. The government has got so many other activities also. Keeping that in mind, we are going for PPP model (public-private partnership) involving the private sector in a big way," he says.
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