Smart Cities Mission: Notes for the UPSC Exam

In cities, the pressure of population on land, infrastructure, environment is massive and civic agencies are grappling with problems like clean air, mobility, sanitation, water, public safety, etc. Hence there is a need for developing a sustainable solution.

The Smart Cities Mission was launched on June 25, 2015, with the key objective of promoting cities to provide core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environment and give a decent quality of life to their citizens through the application of ‘smart solutions’.

There are various other schemes, missions, and policies that have been released by the central government for the purpose of development. UPSC aspirants can refer to the List of Government Schemes in India at the linked article.

Latest Update:

  • To mark the sixth anniversary of the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) and other urban transformation missions, a virtual event was organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) on June 25, 2021. The date also marked the 45 years of establishment of the National Institute of Urban Affairs, an autonomous body of MoHUA, tasked to bridge the gap between research and practice on issues related to urbanization.
  • Winners for Smart Cities India Awards 2020 were also announced on June 25, 2021. Indore and Surat together were named the smartest cities. All government exam aspirants can visit the linked article and get the detailed list of state/UT-wise and theme-wise winners.

In this article, the key objectives and the significance of the Smart Cities Mission along with its various other aspects have been discussed. Also, the recent developments under the scheme have been discussed further below in this article. The details gathered from this article will be useful for the IAS Exam and other competitive exam preparation.

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Refer to the following links below to strengthen your UPSC Exam preparation:

What is a Smart City?

It is a city where there is a significant and extensive improvement in the physical, social, and economic infrastructure.

What is the need for the development of Smart Cities?

  1. Smart cities are needed to bring in growth and development in a country.
  2. Smart cities are needed for the development of the quality of life of people in the cities.
  3. If the quality of life of the people is improved in cities, then naturally the city will attract more people and thereby more investments.

Smart Cities Mission – Government of India

  1. GoI launched the 100 smart cities mission in 2015.
  2. The objective is to integrate city functions, utilize scarce resources more efficiently, and improve the quality of life of citizens.
  3. To improve safety and security
  4. To improve the efficiencies of municipal services.
  5. The use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is at the core of enhancing the city’s liveability, workability, and sustainability.
  6. The Ministry of Urban Development has identified 24 key areas that cities must address in their ‘smart cities’ plan.
  7. Of these 24 key areas, 3 are directly related to water and 7 are indirectly related to water – Smart-metre management, leakage identification, preventive maintenance, and water quality modeling.
  8. Smart Cities Mission is one of the mechanisms that will help operationalize the nationwide implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) priorities like poverty alleviation, employment, and other basic services. Know in detail about the Sustainable Development Goals on the linked page.

The municipalities used their Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs) as war rooms for Covid-19 response under the Smart Cities Mission. The ICCCs set up under the Mission are meant to coordinate traffic management, surveillance, utilities and grievance redressal.

Out of the 100 municipalities in the Smart Cities Mission, the ICCCs of 45 cities are online or operational. As Covid-19 war rooms, the ICCCs implemented initiatives such as:

  • CCTV surveillance of public places.
  • GIS mapping of Covid-positive cases.
  • GPS tracking of healthcare workers
  • Predictive analytics (heat maps) for virus containment across different zones of the city.
  • Virtual training to doctors and healthcare professionals.
  • Real-time tracking of ambulances and disinfection services.
  • Providing medical services through video-conferencing, telecounseling, and telemedicine.

Aspirants can check out the relevant links provided below to prepare comprehensively for the upcoming Civil Services Exams-

Smart Cities Mission – Planning

Initially, there was a lack of clarity as there was no universal definition of a smart city. The Government of India did not prescribe any particular model as they realized one size did not fit all, from the experiences of previous Urban Development Missions.

Every city had to formulate its concept, vision, mission, and plan which is appropriate to its local context, resources, and level of ambition.

Smart Cities Mission – Finance/Funding

  1. Total Mission funds are Rs 2.05 Lakh Crore
  2. 45% of the total mission funds come from Central and State Governments.
  3. 21% of the funds will come from convergence and PPP (Public-Private Partnership)
  4. 5% of the funds from debts and loans.
  5. 1% through their own funds and 7% from others.

Smart Cities Mission – Distribution of Funds

  1. Area Development – Rs 42,000 Crore
  2. Urban Mobility – Rs 34,00 Crore
  3. Water Supply, Wastewater/Sewerage, Storm Water Drain – Rs 30,000 Crore

UPSC 2021

Smart Cities Mission – Implementation

Established SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) in each city for

  1. Decision making
  2. Planning
  3. Project designing and
  4. Implementation.

Smart Cities Mission – Progress/Achievements

The Smart Cities Mission has made both physical and financial progress since its implementation. Given below are the details about the progress made under this scheme (as of June 2021):

  1. Of the total proposed projects under this mission, 5,924 projects have been tendered, work orders have been issued for 5,236 and 2,665 projects are fully operational
  2. 212 PPP projects worth Rs. 24,964 crore have been grounded/completed
  3. 70 Smart cities have developed and operationalized their Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs) in the country
  4. The number of projects completed under the Smart Cities Mission includes:
    • Smart Roads – 310
    • Smart Solar – 57
    • Smart Water – 101
    • PPP – 123
    • Vibrant Public Places – 72
  5. Apart from the general themes and categories for which India Smart Cities Awards are released every year, for 2020, two new themes were added to this list. These included the Sustainable Business model of ICCC and Innovation award, especially in COVID Management.

Smart Cities Mission – Challenges

  1. A lot of progress is desired in creating energy-efficient and green buildings.
  2. Making Urban Bodies self-reliant
  3. The share of public transport is declining, it needs to be increased to meet the needs of increasing urbanization.
  4. Rising air pollution, increase in road congestion due to an increase in urbanization.

Smart Cities – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2021.

Daily News 2021

For more topics, you can visit the UPSC Syllabus page. You can find more UPSC-related preparation materials and other articles with the links given in the table below:

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