Posted in Group Discussion (GD) Topics with Answers, Total Reads: 2706
People having discussion on the topic: Asha, Balu, Charu, Dhanush, Eshwar & Fareen.
Group Discussion Starts
Asha: As we all know, many people are migrating from rural to urban areas and this number is seemingly increasing and it doesn’t limit to India but also applicable to global context. So the need of the hour for cities is to get smarter to handle the upcoming issues related to large scale urbanisation. Hence, Smart Cities Mission, urban renewal and retrofitting initiative started by Government of India.
Balu: Adding to your point, a smart city can be defined as a city with well-equipped infrastructural facilities and facilitates a decent liveable environment through smart solutions. It assures 24X7 electricity and water facility, robust IT connectivity, good and efficient transportation system, e-governance etc.
Charu: During the election campaign in May 2014, our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi of NDA government had announced about the initiative of Smart Cities Mission and promised to build 100 smart cities across India. The main agenda of this programme is to facilitate fast development of remote cities and attract foreign investments and jobs for people.
Dhanush: Smart Governance is required for development of smart cities. Budget allocated in 2014-15 is USD 1.2 billion for smart cities and FDI norms have been relaxed. Smart City projects are estimated to increase employment by 10-15%. Construction of 2 smart cities in each of 29 states in India has been planned by Ministry of Urban Development. A total of Rs.980 billion has been sanctioned for this programme.
Eshwar: There is a two-stage selection for the capable cities to be chosen for this project. In the stage-one, each state and union territories scores all their cities based on criteria of existing service levels, Institutional Systems and Capacities, self-financing, Past track record and accordingly each city is given some points and the top 100 cities will be shortlisted for stage-two.
Fareen: As rightly said by you, stage-two will be a follow up of stage-one and there will be further shortlisting done among 100 cities. Set of criteria in stage-two for allotting points are Impact of Proposal, Cost effectiveness of Smart City Plan, Innovation and Scalability, Processes followed. Now, top 20 cities are chosen and they are under construction phase. Cities like Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Indore, New Delhi, and Visakhapatnam etc. have been shortlisted in first round.
Balu: During recent visit of Bruce Andrews to India, US Deputy Secretary of Commerce, he focused on India’s need to address the barriers of doing business which have become roadblocks for extended trade between both countries. According to that trade mission, an agreement has been concluded in the presence of AP’s Chief Minister N.Chandrbabu Naidu by Leocadia Zak director of US Trade and Development Agency, in regard of extending support to India’s objective of developing smart cities.
Eshwar: NDA government has invited foreign investors to make investments in India and contribute towards the development of smart cities. Japan has also contributing to this initiative by making an investment of $4.5 billion in the initial phase of DMIC project and also working for development of other industrial corridors.
Asha: Adding to your point, there are also technological partners helpful in the development of smart cities initiative like IBM and CISCO which have made Integrated Communication Technology Master Plan for this mission under DMIC project in the beginning phase.
Fareen: With the implementation of smart cities programme, Make in India initiative will also boom when the projects like DMIC, CBIC and AKIC comes into real picture which will contribute a lot to the infrastructural and economic growth of smart cities which are located nearby them.
Charu: Aiming at providing good infrastructure, smart solutions and promoting development, this project seems to be a necessity because it provides facilities like water, sanitation, IT connectivity, waste management, and all the above healthy environment to live in.
Eshwar: Yes. As smart cities provides smarter solutions by which more people can be accommodated in the same place. It also increases the job opportunities for the general public.
Dhanush: Despite many portrayed benefits, Smart Cities Mission has some hurdles on its way. This project requires huge amounts of capital to build smart cities. As we know that government has allocated around Rs.70 crore per city and it won’t be sufficient. Therefore, as told by our friends that US and Japan’s contributions, government needs to attract more and more foreign investments.
Eshwar: Also there should be proper planning for the utilization of funds allocated so that it is not limited to the upper class only.
Asha: Another issue is relating to the land acquisition. Large acres of land are required and currently land over which many of the smart cities which are being build belongs to villagers of that region who may not welcoming this initiative and may be expecting premium prices. We have seen this happened in Dholera, Gujarat where locals had resisted against this project.
Fareen: Adding to what you have said, other areas of concern would be the lack of coordination between Government agencies and project execution which may have their own agendas and processes to be followed. So there is a need for segregation of domain experts and some authorities to be appointed for the mission.
Charu: The main agenda of the smart cities mission is to provide housing to all the people. With day-by-day increase in the urbanization, a good quality of living and a decent environment to live in is expected from this mission.
In conclusion it can be said that as India is a developing nation and the “Smart Cities Mission” might help in raising the standard of living of the people by providing all facilities required and it can contribute to the economic growth of the country and may also be helpful for other initiatives like Make in India, Digital India etc. This project can be place India among top nations of the world.
Facts related to the Topic
• Budget allocated in 2014-15 is USD 1.2 billion for smart cities and FDI norms have been relaxed.
• Smart City projects are estimated to increase employment by 10-15%.
• Japan is contributing to this initiative by making an investment of $4.5 billion in the initial phase of DMIC project.
• Government of India has allocated around Rs.70 crore per city.
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