The deadline for completing projects under the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) was extended for all 100 participating cities to June 2023 due to the delays caused by COVID-19 and based on a NITI Aayog recommendation, according to Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry. In response to several questions about Smart City projects in the country, the Ministry informed the Lok Sabha that “the period of implementation of SCM has been extended to June 2023”.
The Details of Smart Cities Mission:
More About The Smart Cities Mission (SCM):
Though announced in 2015, the SCM was conducted as a competition with cities being selected from 2016 to 201. The cities were given five years to complete the projects under the mission, with the first set of Smart Cities expected to complete in 2021.
In response to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State (MoS) for Housing and Urban Affairs Kaushal Kishore observed that the Smart Cities had issued tenders for 6,452 projects worth ₹1.84 lakh crore as on November 12. Out of those, work orders had been issued for 5,809 projects and 3,131 projects completed so far.
Mid-term evaluation of Smart Cities Mission (SCM):
However, NITI Aayog in its mid-term evaluation found that many of the Sustainable Development Goals were being met by the Smart Cities projects and the work needed to be “deepened”. Along with that, over one year was lost due to the pandemic, the official noted. Taking all factors into account, NITI Aayog recommended extending the deadline for all cities to June 2023, which was agreed by the Ministry.
What is the Smart Cities Mission:
It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, launched in June 2015 to transform 100 cities to provide the necessary core infrastructure and clean and sustainable environment to enable a decent quality of life to their citizens through the application of “Smart Solutions”.
The mission aims to meet the aspirations of India’s population living in cities through various urban development projects.
Features of Smart Cities Mission:
- Among its strategic components is ‘area-based development’, which includes city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment) and city extension (greenfield development), plus a pan-city initiative in which ‘smart solutions’ are applied covering larger parts of the city.
- Key focus areas of the scheme include construction of walkways, pedestrian crossings, cycling tracks, efficient waste-management systems, integrated traffic management and assessment.
- The scheme also assesses various indices to track urban development such as the Ease of Living Index, Municipal Performance Index, City GDP framework, Climate Smart Cities assessment framework, etc.
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