Smart Cities in India – Transformation from Living to Smart Living
Nowadays, smart cities’ is the latest buzz word in India. Companies or Groups related to IT, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Automation, Consultants, Government Organizations and many others are constantly looking out for opportunities in this segment. Seminars, Conferences, Open Forums etc. are constantly busy with brain storming sessions to discuss the feasibility of Smart Cities in India.
The Smart City
As such, there is no definition for a smart city, but it is always good to have a clear thought on “Smart Living or Living smartly”. Smart Living comprises of Smart Schools, Smart Hospitals, Smart Traffic Management, Smart Parking, Smart Water Management, Smart Waste Management, Smart Metering, Smart Grid, Smart Crime Control Management, Smart Disaster Management, Smart Integration and several other smart things, which requires the effective involvement of Smart People or Smart Citizens. Smart Citizens need to possess aspirations and adaptability towards Smart Behavioral Changes required for smart living.
Core Infrastructure Elements in Smart City
(a) Safety and Security of Citizens, especially women, children and the elderly people
(b) Citizen centric Good E-Governance with the use of IT Connectivity and Digitalization
(c) Adequate Water and Assured Electricity Supply (24X7)
(d) Health and Education, Sanitation including solid waste management
(e) Efficient and Affordable Public Transport and Urban Mobility
(f) Affordable Housing for all
Key Features of Smart Cities
Creating Secured Localities
There is a need to reduce congestion. The smart road network needs to be created not only for the vehicles and public transport, but also for the pedestrians and cyclists. This will help create a pollution free environment.
Preserving and Developing Open Spaces
Parks, playgrounds, and recreational spaces are required in order to enhance the quality of life of the citizens. It is also essential to promote eco-balance.
Citizen Centric Governance
Use of online services to increase the response time and accountability; use of mobile apps for real time interaction with Administrative offices, Municipal Offices and others. Establishing e-Groups to collect the feedback of people regarding services being offered in a smart city, and using smart online applications for the monitoring of such programs and activities.
Giving an identity to the city based on its main economic activity, such as local Cuisine, health, Education, Arts and Craft, Culture, Sports Goods, Furniture, Hosiery, Dairy, Banking Facilities etc.
Organizing Training Programs for smart living, which will guide and ensure all citizens to adapt and follow certain rules and regulations and to establish the smart behavioral changes in all citizens.
Use of Smart Solutions
Using smart solutions for improvising the living standard of Smart People viz. Smart Schools, Smart Traffic, Smart Lightning, Smart Disaster Management, Smart Hospitals, Smart Commuting (Metro), Smart Buildings, Smart Crime Monitoring etc.
City Wide Smart Solutions
The entire mission of Smart Cities will be monitored at the National , State and City Level, and it has to face the below mentioned challenges:
Political and Administrative Leadership
There are 98 smart cities, and each city has to submit a comprehensive project report as per the guidelines defined for Smart Cities, by December, 2015. After reviewing the reports, only 20 Cities will get shortlisted for funding (Central Govt. 100 Cr, State Government 100 Cr). The status as of now stands that about 10-12 cities have not finalized a consultant, so political and administrative leaders had to be a part of the smart city project.
Single Window Clearance
There are multiple approving systems, and it is the biggest hurdle for approvals related to reports, funding, payments etc. in the making of Smart Cities. Countries like US, UK, Singapore, Germany and others have already shown their interest through Technology in funding Smart Cities in India and a Single Window Clearance will boost their interest in Smart Cities of India.
Smart Citizens Involvement
The concept of Smart Cities in India cannot be a successful mission without the involvement of Smart People as they have to change themselves in civic sense. As the End User of Smart Solutions, are the future citizens of the smart city ready for the rules and regulations applicable for them? Are we ready to use dustbins or follow traffic rules or use electricity efficiently? There are many questions that need to be answered before setting forth on the journey towards smart city.
Smart cities’ is not something that can happen overnight. It is a long and tough road, which requires lot of changes and thorough planning.