On 25th June 2016, Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visited Pune to attend the first anniversary celebration of the Smart Cities Mission and AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation). Union Minister Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, Maharashtra Governor Mr. C Vidyasagar Rao and the Chief Minister Mr. Devendra Fadnavis were present. The Chief Ministers of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan joined this event through live video conferencing from Bhubaneswar, Jaipur and Visakhapatnam respectively.  

PM Modi launched 14 projects in Pune and also informed that 69 other projects will be commenced in other parts of the country with an estimated budget of Rs. 1770 crore. These are related to the solid waste management under Swachh Bharat Mission, sewage treatment plants, water supply projects, development of open and green spaces under AMRUT. The Housing Projects for urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, development of cities, technology based pan city solutions will be also included under Smart Cities Mission.

While addressing a large gathering at the event, he marked that an era of competition has been ushered in order to improve the conditions in the urban areas and asked the citizens to rise to the challenges for improvement in the conditions of cities and towns. PM Modi said that the active participation of citizen in the preparation of smart city plans of various cities with over 25 lakh people giving serious suggestions on MyGov.in. Website, has given him an immense pleasure. He gave clarification that it was the contribution and efforts of citizens who enabled their selection in the ‘City Challenge Competition’. He stated that people are more concerned, empowered and involved for participatory development not only for the cities and towns where they are residing but also for the other parts of the country where development is needed. He mentioned this positive and enthusiastic environment as the ‘Spirit of Jan Bhaagidaari’.

PM Modi also inaugurated ‘Make Your City Smart’ Contest, which aimed at involving citizens to design smart cities. The deserving candidate will be rewarded with cash prize that varies from Rs. 10000 to One Lakh. He also inaugurated ‘Smart Net Portal’ which enable the cities under various urban mission to present their ideas and solutions to solve various issues during the implementation of these missions. On this occasion, all the first batch of 20 smart cities under this mission were linked through video conferencing. Along with this, 20 cities have proposed a total investment of Rs. 48000 crore in the area development and pan city solutions.

He talked about LED bulb mission, which has been executed in various rural areas of the nation. The Indian government has invested more than one lakh crore rupees in the energy sector. With that, there will be production of 20 thousand megawatt electricity which will be provided to the people so that there will be additional comfort in their life. The LED bulbs provided will not only save energy but also the huge electricity bills. He talked about the solar energy projects that are operative in various states in order to provide energy for different purposes. For solar energy production, we have targeted various areas which are more directed to sunlight and solar plants have been installed on roofs. The extra energy produced by these plants will be purchased by the government.

PM Modi also talked about Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and asked the people to participate in this mission so that we can provide a good and safe living environment for our family, town, city and the nation. He mentioned about the compost fertilizer that can be prepared with the organic waste. In this way, we can not only prevent the use of chemical fertilizers but also reduce the cost of fertilizers. We have been focusing on solid waste management and liquid waste management.

PM Modi elaborated the concept of smart cities the advantages of following it. He laid stress on ensuring availability of all basic services to the people. He also referred to the extensive use of digital technology in the smart city plans for improving the quality of governance and public services.  The other projects to be launched will include New Delhi Municipal Council Area where mini sewerage treatment plants, smart classrooms, command and control centers, Wi-Fi, smart LED streetlights and city surveillance will be initiated.

PM Modi invited all the cities and citizens to participate in the Swachh Bharat Mission. With the support of people, we can create well developed architecture of the cities and towns of the nation. The Prime Minister said that the days when urbanization was seen as a problem are now over; it is now seen as an opportunity. He said that the cities are growth centers which have the capacity to mitigate the problems faced by the people.

The smart city projects launched by PM Modi are the first shoots of urban renaissance taking place in the country as a result of the paradigm shift in the approaches to urban development ushered in by the government. The urban transformation has started in a team India spirit with the collective efforts of the people, urban local bodies and the state governments. This transformation is an integral part of Making of Developed India.

Contributor: Sunpreet Kaur