NITI Ayog praises selection of 100 smart cities without controversy

New Delhi [India], Apr 27 : Asserting that the implementation of the Centre's Smart City Mission is certainly changing the way city governments are addressing issues of urban planning and execution, Union Urban Development Minister M.Venkaiah Naidu today said thye objective was to raise standards of livability and urban sustainability in these areas .

He was attending a knowledge sharing workshop on 'Smart Cities and Informed Urbanisation' here, organized by NITI Ayog and University of New South Wales, Australia.

Naidu said the broad objectives of the Smart City Mission are: Sustainable urban planning and development, Management of urban affairs with citizens' participation, Area based development, Resilience to climate change, natural disasters etc and Technology based solutions for better governance and infrastructure management.

He further said that all new urban sector missions launched over the last two years aim at inclusive urban development benefitting all sections.

NITI Ayog vice chairman Dr.Arvind Panagariya said the government has selected 100 cities for smart city development based on competition without any iota of controversy and was highly laudable.

Basic features of a smart city include slum free city environment, proper delivery of city services including clean water and quality and assured power, affordable housing and meeting the needs of children, women and the aged.

He stressed on the need for optimal use of scarce urban land through vertical development. NITI Ayog Member Dr.Bibek Debroy stated that Smart City Mission is not aimed at disbursing public money but to recast urban landscape through other means of resource mobilization and promoting best urban practices.

Rajiv Gauba, Secretary (Urban Development) said "Smart City Mission is not a typical project oriented programme but a process driven by the ambition of the citizens for better living and is not limited by time".

He said the first batch of 20 smart cities have come out with projects with potential for visible impact on ground.

He clarified that a special purpose vehicle is being constituted for implementation of smart city plans and should not be seen as parallel power structures but as accountable execution tools with the involvement of mayors and elected representatives of people in advisory bodies.

He said the Smart City Mission implementation seeks to ensure core services of high quality, transformation of old and neglected neighbourhoods and adoption of technology-based solutions.

Source: ANI