Do you know that every minute during the next 20 years, 30 Indians will leave rural India for urban areas? And that by 2050, 70% of people will be living in cities? At this rate, India will need some 500 new cities in the next two decades, says the American technology behemoth, IBM. The moot point is this: as population centres grow, they are placing greater demands on the city infrastructures that deliver vital services such as transportation, healthcare, education and public safety. Adding to the strain are ever-changing public demands for better education, greener programmes, accessible government, affordable housing and more options for senior citizens. If there were ever a time to focus on developing solutions for sustainable cities, that time is now.
With India looking forward to upgrading its urban areas and creating new world class cities, the ambitious plan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to build 100 smart cities across the country is a major step towards a Digital India. The 100 smart cities announcement by the government in the Union Budget 2014-15, with an allocation of Rs 7,060 crore in the current fiscal, clearly signal the recognition given to technology in realising the Prime Minister’s digital dreams.
Navin M Raheja, chairman, National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) says, “Smart city especially in Indian context is a city that has well placed smart looking planned buildings which are Wi-Fi enabled in order to provide communication connectivity through free models. Also, its various public services and management facilities including traffic management, urban lighting, waste management, technology management and its maintenance is inplace.”
Some of the smart cities to be developed in India are Dholera in Gujarat, Shendra in Maharashtra, Manesar in Haryana, Khushkera in Rajasthan, Ponneri in Tamil Nadu, Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Tumkur in Karnataka. Pradeep Jain, chairman, Parsvnath Developers, says, “Such cities are need of the hour given the kind of load our metros are facing in terms of migration of people from tier-2, 3 cities.”
Any city is said to be smart when it is equipped with smart grids and energy efficiency, intelligent transportation, connected healthcare, public safety and security along with wireless communications and hotspots. It has ready access to government and land records, central control with regard to traffic and sustainable infrastructure for electricity and fibre lines. Anand Navani, country manager, Verint Video Systems, India, says, “The successful implementation of smart cities depends primarily on information