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Smart Cities Mission in India Extended to 2025

The Government of India announced a significant extension to one of its flagship urban development initiatives. The Smart Cities Mission, originally set to conclude on June 30, 2024, will now continue until March 31, 2025. This extension marks a crucial phase in India’s journey towards creating technologically advanced and livable urban spaces.

The Smart Cities Vision

Launch and Objectives

The Smart Cities Mission was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 25, 2015. This visionary project aims to revolutionize urban living in India by focusing on three key areas:

  1. Providing core infrastructure
  2. Creating a clean and sustainable environment
  3. Ensuring a decent quality of life for citizens

The mission’s unique approach involves applying ‘smart solutions’ to urban challenges, leveraging technology to improve city services and citizen experiences.

Selection and Scale

In a nationwide competition, 100 cities were chosen to be part of this transformative journey. The selection process, conducted in two stages, ensured a diverse representation of urban centers across India.

Uttar Pradesh leads with 13 smart cities, followed closely by Tamil Nadu with 12, and Maharashtra with 10. This distribution highlights the mission’s commitment to balanced regional development.

Funding: A Collaborative Approach

Central Government’s Commitment

The Smart Cities Mission operates as a centrally sponsored scheme. The central government pledged a substantial Rs 48,000 crore over five years, translating to an average of Rs 100 crore per city per year.

State and Local Contributions

To ensure shared responsibility and commitment, state governments and urban local bodies are required to provide matching contributions. This collaborative funding model encourages local involvement and ownership of the projects.

Implementation Strategy

The mission adopts an innovative approach to project implementation:

  • Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) are created by urban local bodies to manage projects
  • Emphasis on Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) to leverage private sector expertise and resources

Progress and Extension: The Road Ahead

Achievements So Far

As of July 3, 2024, the Smart Cities Mission has made significant strides:

  • 7,188 projects completed across 100 cities
  • Total value of completed projects: Rs 1,44,237 crore

Ongoing Projects

  • 830 projects in advanced stages of completion
  • Value of ongoing projects: Rs 19,926 crore

Financial Status

The central government has released Rs 46,585 crore of the allocated funds, demonstrating its commitment to the mission’s success.

Reasons for Extension

The extension until March 31, 2025, was granted in response to requests from state governments. This decision reflects the government’s dedication to ensuring the successful completion of all sanctioned projects.

Key Points of the Extension

  1. No new projects will be sanctioned
  2. Focus on completing existing projects on a priority basis
  3. Remaining funds to be released to state governments for ongoing projects
  4. State governments must complete all work by the new deadline

The Way Forward

Under the leadership of Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs, Manohar Lal Khattar, the Smart Cities Mission enters its final phase. This extension provides an opportunity to:

  1. Consolidate the gains made so far
  2. Address challenges and delays in ongoing projects
  3. Ensure the full realization of the smart city vision in all 100 selected cities

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