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Chapter # 19.Smart Cities for Urban Transformation


Leverage the ‘Smart Cities’ concept in select urban clusters to:

  • Drive job creation and economic growth.
  • Significantly improve efficiencies in service delivery.
  • Leverage technology for inclusive, sustainable and participatory development by 2022-23.

Current Situation

Smart Cities is an approach to urban development characterized by area-based development, efficient delivery of basic infrastructure and services in an equitable manner and citizens’ participation.

The Government of India has so far selected 99 cities with an outlay of INR 2.04 lakh crore. These cities have started implementing projects such as smart command and control centres, smart area-based development, smart roads, solar rooftops, intelligent transport systems and smart parks.

These projects have the unique feature of integration between different infrastructural elements of the projects. As of 14 May 2018, projects worth INR 4,800 crores have been completed and works worth more than INR 20,000 crores are underway, as per the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs’ Smart City MIS portal.


The key operational challenge areas in the Smart City Mission include the non-availability of the following:

  • An institutional mechanism for inter-agency coordination, including special purpose vehicles (SPVs), for effective delivery.
  • A robust spatial plan as an overall framework within which smart city planning and implementation can happen.
  • Smart mechanisms to enhance the voices of the urban poor, slum dwellers, migrants and other underprivileged citizens.
  • A digital master plan or a digital strategy and roadmap.
  • Data-driven decision making for service delivery and resource sustainability.
  • Availability of skilled human resources to handle various functional domains.
  • Financing smart cities and financial sustainability of ULBs.

Way Forward

The following strategies are proposed to leverage the Smart Cities Mission across the four paradigms of economy, equity, environment and engagement in India by 2022-23:


  • Scaling area-based development: There is a need to measure the impact of current area-based development projects on the ease of living, economic growth, investments, job creation and citizens’ participation. The central government can consider transferring the lessons learnt from such area-based development projects to other cities. States should also be encouraged to launch their own state-level missions for other cities.
  • Mobility: An integrated institutional architecture for planning and coordinating the regulation of mobility such as a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority is needed.
  • Spatial plans should provide for integrating land-use and transport planning to support more mixed-use development for enhancing economic activity, reducing commuting time and improving environmental quality.
  • There is a need for focused attention to public transport, including existing intermediate and para-transit services, especially in smaller cities. A pooled green transport fund to support such investments is recommended. A high-level inter-ministerial electric vehicle (EV) mission is necessary for proper coordination on the EV agenda.
  • Achieving desired service delivery levels: Funds for the provisioning of basic services and infrastructure are accessed from complementary missions, such as the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), and Housing for All (HFA).
  • There is a need for a framework that mandates measurable outputs and outcomes for all capital investments in infrastructure and services in cities.
  • These outputs and outcomes should be predefined and measured at quarterly intervals. The present liveability assessment underway will provide the baseline for measurement on 73 indicators.
  • Digital transformation roadmap: Conventionally, cities have been using information technology and communication (ICT) in three ways: (1) use a single application to address burning problems, say, waste collection, and then add more applications as per the needs and priorities of the city; (2) build infrastructure and add services, and (3) experiment with a number of applications without having a long-term or definitive vision in place.
  • The conventional ways ignore the value hidden in human interactions – among citizens, with the city’s infrastructure (e.g. roads, bridges, parks) and the environment. These interactions contain data and information and digital technology has the potential to recognize and capture the hidden value in their interactions.
  • To harness internet connectivity and its various applications in governance and service delivery, cities need to put in place a digital transformation roadmap across both hard infrastructure and software applications. A digital transformation roadmap would recognize and capture these interactions and the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts once the information that flows in the “systems of systems” is captured.
  • Additionally, the digital transformation roadmap would also build on the considerable work done in cities on geographic information systems (GIS) and apply these for geo-locating, mapping and publishing public assets in the city such as parks, playgrounds, public toilets, bus stops, streetlights, manholes, water and sewerage lines, storm water drains, power lines, etc., and linking these to grievance redressal, participatory budgeting, transparent works management, and contractor payments.
  • Municipal acts need to provide for a digital transformation roadmap for ULBs as a mandatory policy document, like spatial plans. This will also help build data observatories for multiple uses, including citizen engagement.


  • Inclusive development: Cities must ensure that the urban poor and slum dwellers including recent migrants can avail of city services and subsidies and are financially included through the Jan Dhan Yojana. A dedicated benchmark could be considered to measure if benefits reach the targeted poor.
  • Cities should dedicate a single-window facility for the urban poor to access basic services such as water supply, drainage and sewerage, and affordable housing in the form of dormitory and rental housing.
  • Urban poor communities and slums, benefitted by area-based development (ABD) or pan city proposal (PCP) solutions, should be mapped in conjunction with improvements in parameters such as access to public assets and reducing service deficit including in the areas of education and health.


  • Resilient cities: It is strongly recommended that India should mainstream the resilient cities approach and integrate it with service levels as indicated in the chapter on Approach to Sustainability in our National Building Code.
  • The resilient cities approach should also be in line with the 11th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which emphasizes the sustainable development of cities and communities.
  • Environment sustainability should be recognized as a distinct goal and be measured as part of service levels. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) can issue model guidelines in this regard.


  • Data observatories in partnership with civil society: More than 20 smart command and control centres are under implementation and an equal number are under tendering. About six of these centres have been completed in Vishakhapatnam, Kakinada, Surat, Nagpur, Vadodara and Ahmedabad, with nearly all of them using open-source codes.
  • There is need to use the information available in these centres to develop urban data observatories with a flexible architecture and continue open source accessibility. The purpose of such observatories is to serve as a decision support mechanism for policy makers and to engage citizens. The MoHUA guidelines should institutionalize the need for regulation around data observatories and make them open source in nature (by limiting private ownership of such data), while at the same time protecting the privacy of citizens.
  • The data observatory incubated by the National Institute of Urban Affairs offers one such model. Institutionally, there is need to leverage information to achieve better inter-agency coordination within ULBs and with SPVs.

Chapter # 41. Data Led Governance and Policy Making

Objectives Evidence based policy making should be made integral to the overall governance structure in New India, 2022-23. To achieve this, timely gen

Chapter # 40. Optimizing the Use of Land Resources

Optimizing the Use of Land Resources-Ensuring that land markets function smoothly, through efficient allocation of land across uses, provision of secu

Chapter # 39. Modernizing City Governance For Urban Transformation

Objective  City Governance For Urban Transformation To transform our cities into economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable habitats that p

Chapter # 38. Civil Services Reforms

Objective  civil-services-reforms To put in place a reformed system of recruitment, training and performance evaluation of the civil service to ensur

Chapter # 37. Legal, Judicial and Police Reforms

Objective To ensure the safety and security of citizens and ensure access to effective legal systems and speedy delivery of justice. Current Situation

Chapter # 36. The North-East Region

Objectives The North-East Region (NER) should: Have adequate road, rail and air connectivity, waterways, internet connectivity and financial inclusion

Chapter # 35. Balanced Regional Development: Transforming Aspirational Districts

Objective  Balanced Regional Development: Transforming Aspirational Districts Achieve balanced development in India by uplifting 115 districts, curre

Chapter # 34. Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Other Tribal Groups and Minorities

SCs, STs, OBCs, De-Notified Tribes (DNTs), Nomadic Tribes (NTs) and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (SNTs) Objective  To accelerate the socio-economic developm

Chapter # 33. Senior Citizens, Persons with Disability and Transgender Persons

SENIOR CITIZENS  Objective To ensure a life of dignity, social security and safety for senior citizens, enabling them to actively participate in econ

Chapter # 32. Gender

Objective  To create an enabling environment, sans institutional and structural barriers. To enhance the female labour force participation rate to at

Chapter # 31. Nutrition

Objectives  Under POSHAN Abhiyaan, achieve the following outcomes by 2022-23, compared to the baseline of 2015-16 (National Family Health Survey-4):

Chapter # 30. Universal Health Coverage

Objectives  On the strong platform of Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY): Attain a coverage of at least 75 per cent of the population

Chapter # 29. Human Resources for Health

Objectives  Achieve a doctor-population ratio of at least 1:1400 (WHO norm 1:1000) and nurse-population ratio of at least 1:500 (WHO norm 1:400) by 2

Chapter # 28. Comprehensive Primary Health Care

Objectives  Under Ayushman Bharat, scale-up a new vision for comprehensive primary health care across the country, built on the platform of health an

Chapter # 27. Public Health Management and Action

Objectives  To revamp radically the public and preventive health system in the nation through the following strategic interventions: Mobilize public

Chapter # 26. Skill Development

Obejctives  For harnessing the demographic advantage that it enjoys, India needs to build the capacity and infrastructure for skilling/reskilling/up-

Chapter # 25. Teacher Education and Training

Objectives There cannot be a quality education system without quality teachers. Therefore, a thorough revamp of the entire ecosystem of teacher educat

Chapter # 24. Higher Education

Objectives  Increase the gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education from 25 per cent in 2016-17 to 35 per cent by 2022-23. Make higher education

23. School Education

Objectives Universal access and retention: o Hundred per cent enrolment and retention at elementary education and secondary education levels; achieve

Chapter # 22. Sustainable Environment

Objective  The objective is to maintain a clean, green and healthy environment with peoples’ participation to support higher and inclusive economic

Chapter # 21. Water Resources

Objectives By 2022-23, India’s water resources management strategy should facilitate water security to ensure adequate availability of water for l

Chapter # 20. Swash Bharat Mission

Objectives The key objectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission include: 1. Making India Open Defecation Free (ODF) by October 2, 2019. 2. Carrying out ext

Chapter # 19.Smart Cities for Urban Transformation

Objectives  Leverage the ‘Smart Cities’ concept in select urban clusters to: Drive job creation and economic growth. Significantly improve effici

Chapter # 18. Digital Connectivity

Objectives Given the relevance of digital connectivity to economic growth and the need to eliminate the digital divide by 2022-23, India should aim to

Chapter # 17. Logistics

Objectives Achieve multi-modal movement of cargo on par with global logistics standards. Reduce the logistics cost to less than 10 per cent of GDP fro

Chapter # 16.Ports, Shipping and Inland Waterways

Objectives  Double the share of freight transported by coastal shipping and inland waterways from 6 per cent in 2016-171 to 12 per cent by 2025. Incr

Chapter # 15. Civil Aviation

Objectives Enhance the affordability of flying to enable an increase in domestic ticket sales from 103.75 million in 2016-171 to 300 million by 2022.2

Chapter # 14. Railways

Objectives By 2022-23, India should have a rail network that is not only efficient, reliable and safe, but is also cost-effective and accessible, both

Chapter # 13. Surface Transport

Objectives Increasing the coverage and quality of roads and highways is critical to enhancing connectivity and internal and external trade. By 2022-23

Chapter # 12. Energy

Objectives The government’s on-going energy sector policies aim “to provide access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy”. At t

Chapter # 11. Minerals

Objectives Double the area explored from 10 per cent of obvious geological potential (OGP) area to 20 per cent.1 Accelerate the growth of the mining s

Chapter # 10. Travel, Tourism and Hospitality

Objectives  Increase India’s share in global international tourist arrivals from 1.18 per cent to 3 per cent. Increase the number of foreign touris

Chapter # 9. Housing For All

Objectives Provide every family with a pucca house, with a water connection, toilet facilities, and 24×7 electricity supply and access. Build 2.9

Chapter # 8. Financial Inclusion

Objectives Banking for the unbanked  o Bank accounts: Ensuring universal access to bank accounts, which are a gateway to all financial services.  o

Chapter # 7.Doubling Farmers’ Income (III): Value Chain & Rural Infrastructure

Objectives • Transform the rural economy through the creation of modern rural infrastructure and an integrated value chain system. • Leverage the

Chapter # 6.Doubling Farmers’ Income (II): Policy & Governance

Objectives Create a policy environment that enables income security for farmers, whilst maintaining India’s food security. Encourage the participati

Chapter # 5.Doubling Farmers’ Income (I): Modernizing Agriculture

Objectives • Modernize agricultural technology, increase productivity, efficiency and crop diversification. • Generate income and employment throu

Chapter # 4.Industry

Objectives Double the current growth rate of the manufac-turing sector by 2022. Promote in a planned manner the adoption of the latest technology adva

Chapter # 3. Technology and Innovation

Objectives India should be among the top 50 countries in the Global Innovation Index by 2022-23.1 Five of our scientific research institutions should

Chapter # 2.Employment and Labour Reforms

Objectives Complete codification of central labour laws into four codes by 2019. Increase female labour force participation to at least 30 per cent by

Chapter # 1 Growth (India @ 75)

Objectives Steadily accelerate the gross domestic product(GDP) growth rate to achieve a target of about 8 per cent during 2018-23 This will raise the


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