SMART CITIES MISSION: RAJASTHAN SPRINTS AHEAD, SET TO START WORK IN UDAIPUR
Rajasthan is moving ahead at a rapid pace in terms of development of smart cities. In January this year, the Modi government announced a list of the first 20 cities to be developed as smart cities, and Jaipur and Udaipur made it to that list.Rajasthan was the first state to submit smart city plans in January this year. The state has proposed a total investment of R6,457 crore over the next five years for developing Ajmer, Jaipur, Kota and Udaipur as smart cities, as part of the Smart City Challenge.
Rajasthan has also taken the lead in setting up special purpose vehicles (SPV) for the implementation of smart city plans. The state has set up an 11-member SPV for Jaipur and a 13-member body for Udaipur. These vehicles will approve, sanction and execute the projects besides mobilising resources from various sources to ensure timely and efficient execution of plans.
Industry forum Ficci and Udaipur Municipal Corporation (UMC) have signed a memorandum of understanding for developing Udaipur as a smart city. The two came together to collaborate in areas of creation of financial plans for various sectors and creation of innovative sources of the municipal finance, project based support for projects in areas like transport, solid waste management, water supply, housing, sewerage, health, education, storm water drainage etc.
Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, urban development and local self government minister in Rajasthan government, told FE: “A smart city is about inclusive growth, quality of life, happiness index, convenience of living and being green. Some cities may have been ‘smart’ earlier but to be counted as ‘smart’ in 2016 was different in the context of having planned core infrastructure as well as a clean and sustainable environment.”
Shekhawat said that each city has its own strength in terms of heritage, geographical location and environment. The Smart City Mission will keep these factors in mind while developing smart cities in Rajasthan. “There cannot be a universal formula for developing a smart city—however making governance citizen friendly and cost effective will be one of the key objectives. It will also expand housing opportunities for all.”
Manjit Singh, principal secretary, local self government, said Rajasthan government is fully geared up for the smart city projects. Special purpose vehicles (SPVs) have already been created. The project management consultants (PMC) will be appointed by the end of this month and the work will begin by June 15 next month.