Soon after India and the U.S. agreed to develop Ajmer, Allahabad and Visakhapatnam as smart cities, the Modi government’s “Smart City” initiative got a shot in the arm with Germany too offering its assistance in developing three more smart cities.
The decision was taken when Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu met the visiting German Minister of Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Barbara Hendricks, here on Wednesday.
A six-member joint committee will be set up in three months to identify these cities and draw up a plan.
The committee will have two representatives of the Urban Development Ministry, one from the Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Ministry and three from the Government of Germany, sources said.
Dr. Hendricks has invited a delegation from India to the Urban Development Conference in Germany in April. After a discussion on the smart cities initiative, the Minister said the German government was keen on associating with it.
Swachh Bharat, Digital India dovetailed
Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's brief, the Centre has decided to dovetail the scheme with the Swachh Bharat Mission and Digital India. Priorities that have been flagged include the need to have clean air, move towards zero waste zones, involve citizens in policy-making and execution, generation of jobs and expanding economic activities.
“The Ministry has already specified that cities will be selected through a competition -- we are yet to decide the format of it -- but among the criteria will be the city's capacity and potential to implement the policy,” said an official of the UD Ministry.
There will also be an evaluation of how the cities propose to undertake urban projects through retrofitting, refurbishment and new developmentThe details of support and hand-holding to help in the transformation will be discussed as well as the role of private players and citizens.
The Centre will also examine the possibility of executing works through a Special Purpose Vehicle through PPP.
“We have to also look at how to integrate the Smart City project with the National Urban Development Mission for 500 cities ,” pointed out the official.