Indian government has introduced the smart city challenge by recognizing that cities are the main part of growth and are bringing a million people every minute from rural areas. The development of smart cities is considering a key support from states and ULBs. The mission of smart cities by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi requires smart people who participate actively in governance.
In the definition of smart city, there is an involvement of citizen and ceremonial participation along with the involvement of “smart” people. The smart city mission includes implementing reforms, designing post-project structures in order to make the Smart City developments sustainable.
The entire process is envisaged to deal with several problems and the road to building these smart cities is not an easy one. There are several challenges on the way.
Here are the top 4 biggest challenges:
Funding: One of the biggest challenge is having a streamlined funding for the development of smart cities. It was decided that each Smart City will receive 500 Crore over the period of 5 years by Central Government. But this amount won’t be sufficient. To match the contribution of central government there should be some contribution from the state government too in order to create sustainable funding to take the smart cities from pilot phase to execution and then completion. There are many private firms that are providing funding but it requires to be in proper process.
Technology: There are certain technologies that are a part of the project and it is expensive to use them. Because of the advancement, some technologies are borrowed from other countries which makes it more expensive. This hinders the success of smart city project. Another challenge is in the discovery of technology and the need for a medium that can bring technology users and creators together to adopt faster platforms.
Problem of regulation and governance: Owing to a large set of investors, the list of stakeholders in the project is growing. In case of any legal issues, there is a strong need of separate legal framework in the stages of smart city mission. When the project is big there is a need of effective communication between central government, state and local governments. Apart from this, there is also a need of statutory bodies to provide quick approvals so that no resources and time goes waste.
Lack of Infrastructure: For the development of smart city, there is a dual need of building it on two layers ie) infrastructure and technology. With infrastructure being the underlying layer and technology being the top layer. It was reported in a survey that, almost 50% urban areas do not have water supply connections. Sewage is also a big problem and solving these issues in important before moving on to the technology layer.
Other utility services: For a smart city, the main focus is on the reliability of utility services including water, electricity and broadband services. There needs to be a constant 24X7 supply grid electricity. However, looking at the existing demand and supply, this is quite challenging although not impossible. Thus, in order to overcome this hurdle, the cities need to shift towards renewable sources and need to focus on green buildings to reduce the need for electricity.
In nutshell, India’s plan to implement 100 smart cities will be fruitful when the above challenges are planned and managed effectively.