New Delhi: The Centre has cracked the whip on States to get started on developing 'Smart Cities' with a caveat-they will have to “earn” the funds being allocated by the Urban Development Ministry for the scheme.
On Friday after addressing a consultation on smart cities being hosted by the Centre, UD Minister, M. Venkaiah Naidu told The Hindu, that the Centre will not hand out the monies for developing smart cities or allow the States to stretch deadlines.
States will have to compete to first stake a claim to develop smart cities and then for the funds to undertake the work that will be divided into retrofitting, redevelopment and greenfield projects, he said. A competition would be held to assess the proven ability of cities in terms of reforms and innovation and the potential.
Earlier, addressing the state representatives, the Minister said though the Centre will allocate funds, urban local bodies, private companies and citizens will also have to chip in with their efforts.
“Smart cities will not be developed overnight or in Delhi and transported to other centres,” Mr. Naidu said, listing a '4 S and 4 P' formula. “Smart leadership, smart governance, smart technologies and smart people make a city smart. The resource challenge can be met if we make a success of Public-Private-People Partnership (4Ps),” he said.
He urged local bodies to “have courage to take quick and bold decisions” and adopt best practices to attract investments. “We need Rs. 40 lakh crore for developing smart cities and another Rs. 20 lakh crore for maintaining them,” he said, urging the local bodies to refrain from populist measures and instead opt for “transparent and judicious tax models”.
Citing how different aspects like sanitation and waste management contribute to making of a smart city, Mr. Naidu said inadequate sanitation alone costs India about 6.4% of the GDP each year besides resulting in 18 lakh deaths annually caused by diarrhoeal diseases on account of contaminated water.
“The challenges are huge, in the urban areas alone, 12.6 % defecate in the open and only 32.7 % have piped sewerage system. A smart city has to be clean and green, had to make urban life comfortable, have total sanitation, 24X7 water and power, waste management and good transport,” he outlined.