New Delhi: The government today announced the first list of 20 cities that have been identified for development as smart cities this year. This is part of the Central government's plans to develop 100 Smart Cities by the end of 2022.
Notably, most of these cities that have made the cut in the first list fall in states that are either directly ruled by the BJP or where it has a government in alliance with another party. Of the list of 20 cities, twelve fall under states that have the BJP in power. There are five capital cities among the 20 smart cities chosen, with all cities have advised to safeguard against natural calamities.
The Urban Development ministry received proposals for 97 cities from state governments. Bhuvaneswar in Odisha has topped the list as the top city to be identified for development. This is followed by Jaipur and Pune. A total of 11 states and Union Territories see a representation in this first list.
Region-wise, north and east get two cities each for development over the next five years. These cities inlcude the New Delhi Municipal Corporation in the national capital and Ludhiana in Punjab.
Southern India leads the lack with seven cities selected in the first list. The cities are Kochi in Kerala, Vishakapatnam and Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh (AP), Davanager and Belagavi in Karnataka and Coimbatore and Chennai in Tamil Nadu. South has maximum number of selctions followed by the west which has six cities that made the cut.
Among the cities in western India that have been included in the first list of 20 include Pune and Solapur in Maharashtra, Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan and Surat and Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Central India, on the other hand, has Jabalpur, Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Prades while East gets representation in the form of Bhubaneswar in Odisha and Guwahati in Assam.
Implementation of smart cities plan will showcase integrated planning. The investment of Rs 50,802 crores has been proposed in selected smart cities and towns during the five-year period," Union Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu said while announcing the list, adding that Rs 200 crore will be released this year by the central government and an equal amount will be put in by the state governments.
The selected cities will be equipped with basic infrastructure, efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT connectivity and e-governance mechanisms. "Speed of work by these cities will determine the flow of funds from the Centre. Each city in the list will have to set up a credit rating and a Special Purpose Vehicle to take forward the plan and ensure smooth process of investment," Naidu said releasing the list.
"A consortium of only Indian companies was chosen for plans of nine cities from the 20 cities chosen," he added. As per the government's plans, another list of 40 cities will be identified in the next two years for development along the same lines.
The union government had in August last year released a list of 98 cities that will be developed under the Smart Cities mission. These cities together have a population of 13 crore, accounting for 35 per cent of India's urban population. The current list of 20 is a selction for development in the first phase of the programme.
Here is the complete list of 20 cities that made the cut in the first phase: