Inter-ministerial meeting to be convened on smart city

The ministry of urban development is planning to call for an inter-ministerial meeting on smart city based on suggestions made by state governments and union territories.

The minister of urban development and housing & urban poverty alleviation, M Venkaiah Naidu has directed the officials to examine in detail the suggestions of states and prepare a proposal for discussion at an inter-ministerial meeting of ministers of finance and defence, highways and surface transport, railways, power, environment and forests related to smart city.

Unanimously welcoming the smart city initiative of the central government, states made ten broad suggestions including seeking flexibility in implementation, capacity building, technical assistance in preparation of project reports, higher financial assistance etc.

The following suggestions were received from the states in respect of implementation of smart city project: Flexibility in implementation; Incentivising performance; capacity building for technology adoption; higher central assistance in view of the resource constraints of ULBs; expeditious clearances by government of India; higher level of Viability Gap Funding in respect of solid waste management and water supply projects; capital expenditure to be borne by central government since private operators can only manage operations and maintenance; SPV to be created for executing the projects; centre to bear the cost of preparation of feasibility study; and centre to guide in respect of cutting edge technologies.

Some states referred to the difficulties associated with adoption of Public Private Partnership (PPP) model in respect of some urban projects in view of the complexities involved and levying of user charges.

Reiterating the importance of smart leadership in developing smart city, Venkaiah Naidu said he would write to all the chief ministers on the need for proper decision making to enhance revenues of urban local bodies and improving urban governance.

Addressing the “National Conclave of States/UTs on Smart Cities” attended by the ministers and principal secretaries of states, Naidu said that at present 377 million people are living in urban areas of the country but in the next 15 years, this will increase by another 157 millions and by another 500 millions by 2050, by when more than half of the country’s population will be living in urban areas, for the first time.

Naidu said, effective urban governance requires smart leadership that is ‘bold, initiative bearing, willing and able to take hard decisions like raising, taxes if required and recover cost of services.

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