Announcing the winners of smart cities, minister of urban development and housing & urban poverty alleviation M Venkaiah Naidu said that the cities that participated in the competition improved the quality of smart city plans by up to over 25 percent to become eligible for selection. With the selection of these 13 cities, 25 states/UTs are now covered under Smart City Mission.
Naidu informed that Lucknow that missed the list of first 20 smart cities has improved the quality of its smart city plan by 19 percent to make it to the select list. Other winners of Fast Track competition were: Warangal (13%), Dharamshala (27%), Chandigarh (9%), Raipur (25%), New Town Kolkata (11%), Bhagalpur (25%), Panaji (9%), Port Blair (26%), Imphal (27%), Ranchi (27%), Agartala (25%) and Faridabad (12%).
These 13 smart cities were selected based on the marks scored by them in the Fast Track Competition and the benchmarks set by the top performers in the first round of Smart City Challenge competition in which the first 20 cities were selected from among 98 mission cities.
Naidu stated that the 13 smart cities have substantially improved their smart city plans by addressing the deficiencies identified in the first round of competition by ensuring better profiling of respective cities in terms of infrastructure gaps and baseline service levels, ensuring consistency between citizens’ aspirations and action plans, more feasible resource mobilization plans and coordinated and integrated picture of how individual projects will contribute to area level changes.
Other smart cities that participated in Fast Track Competition were: Namchi (14), Aizawl (15), Pasighat (16), Dehradun (17), Kohima (18), Oulgaret (19), Silvassa (20), Kavaratti (21), Diu (22) and Shillong (23). These cities can submit their revised smart city plans for evaluation in the second round of regular competition underway by the end of June.
Venkaiah Naidu informed that the tie between Meerut and Rai Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Srinagar in J&K will be resolved by allowing them to participate in the smart city competition and one city from each of these two states will be selected based on the quality of smart city plans. Seven capital cities left out of Smart City Mission will also be allowed to participate in the competition and these cities are: Patna, Shimla, Naya Raipur, Itanagar, Amaravati, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram.
Naidu further informed that central assistance for improving basic infrastructure in urban areas has been increased to Rs 113,143 crore under new urban missions as against only Rs 33,902 crore during 2004-14. For affordable housing for urban poor, central assistance of Rs 10,050 crore has already been approved as against only Rs 17,889 crore during the previous ten years.
Venkaiah Naidu informed that the new urban sector initiatives of PMAY (Urban), Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart City Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission and Heritage Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) have a total investment potential of Rs 18 lakh crore and of this, an investment of Rs 148,093 crore has already been approved.
The government has approved Affordable Housing (Rs 43,922 crore), Atal Mission (Rs 20,882 crore), Smart City Mission (Rs 80,789 crore) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Rs 2,000 crore) and HRIDAY (Rs 500 crore).