Indore, India (Urban Transport News): In a momentous event held in Indore on September 27, 2023, the President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu presided over the felicitation of the winners of the fourth edition of the India Smart Cities Award Contest (ISAC) 2022. This prestigious event is organized under the aegis of the Smart Cities Mission, a flagship initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India, which has been instrumental in reshaping urban India since its inception in 2018.
The conclave was graced by eminent dignitaries, including Mangubhai C. Patel, Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Kaushal Kishore, Minister of State, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, and Bhupendra Singh, Minister for Urban Development, Madhya Pradesh.
President Smt. Droupadi Murmu expressed her elation at the significant increase in the country's overall investment in urban development. She underscored that over the past decade, India has witnessed an investment in urban development that surpasses tenfold the figures of the previous years. She attributed a substantial part of this transformation to the Smart Cities Mission, emphasizing its pivotal role in implementing best practices and fostering sustainable business models.
The President also shed light on the global stage, mentioning the G-20's focus on urban development. She referred to the Urban 20, a subgroup of the G20, which has endeavored to establish sustainable connectivity among cities. This initiative not only emphasizes the importance of city management in achieving sustainable development but also advocates for cross-border sharing of best practices. President Murmu stressed the necessity of local and global collaboration to ensure holistic and sustainable development.
Integrated Command and Control Centers (ICCCs) are vital components of smart cities. The President acknowledged that all 100 smart cities in India are equipped with ICCCs, employing data-driven decision-making. These centers, utilizing technologies like CCTV surveillance cameras, play a critical role in maintaining law and order. While recognizing their contributions, the President urged stronger measures to enhance the safety of women, emphasizing the potential of these efforts to benefit not only the 100 smart cities but also India's 4,800 additional towns and cities.
President Murmu encouraged mayors and municipal commissioners from various cities across the nation to move forward with newfound confidence and energy. She urged them to incorporate the insights and successful practices shared during the conclave into their respective cities, making the event more meaningful and impactful.
“The contribution of Smart Cities Mission in implementing best practices and developing viable business models is very important. Through this, a collective message was also given that the management of cities has an important role in pursuing the priority of sustainable development. Therefore, we should learn from the best practices and business models of the world’s best-managed cities and also share our successful efforts with other countries. Collaboration at local and global level is essential for overall and sustainable development”, said Smt. Droupadi Murmu, the President of India.
Addressing the gathering, Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs, shared Prime Minister Narendra Modi's transformative vision for planned urbanization. He emphasized that the Smart Cities Mission embodies the Prime Minister's aspiration for a 'New Urban India' and is a crucial element of India's goal to become a developed nation by 2047.
Minister Puri highlighted the role of the Smart Cities Mission in sparking innovation within India's urban ecosystems while concurrently bolstering core infrastructure and services in the country's largest cities. He emphasized the Mission's role in forging robust partnerships between the government, global organizations, partner cities, academia, and industry.
The Smart Cities Mission has sparked innovation in India’s urban ecosystems while also building core infrastructure and strengthening services in India’s 100 biggest cities. It has fostered deep partnerships with government, global organisations, partner cities, academia and industry.
"100 operational Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs) which provide real-time decision-making capabilities through the use of cameras, IOT devices, sensors, and other technologies, have served as ‘War Rooms’ during the pandemic for city leaders to collect information, develop strategies, and execute civic functions," Puri said.
An essential aspect emphasized by Minister Puri was the empowerment of the third level of governance through Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). These entities have provided essential technical and managerial support, fostering the development of social, economic, institutional, and physical infrastructure in a citizen-centric and future-ready manner.
Puri proudly presented a snapshot of the accomplishments of the Smart Cities Mission. He revealed that a total of 7,934 projects worth Rs. 171,044 crores have been sanctioned, with 6,069 projects worth Rs. 1,10,794 crores already completed. An additional 1,865 projects worth Rs. 60,250 crores are set for completion by June 2024. Furthermore, approximately Rs. 25,000 crores worth of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects have been successfully delivered. These initiatives have led to the construction of over 2,700 kilometers of smart roads, nearly 7,000 smart classrooms, the installation of over 50 lakh LED/solar lights, and the establishment of more than 300 smart health centers. Additionally, the Mission has led to the installation of 1,884 emergency call boxes and 3,000 public address systems and traffic enforcement systems, significantly enhancing public safety.
Minister Puri lauded the city of Indore for its exceptional achievements in urban governance. He highlighted Indore's innovative approaches in waste management, carbon credits, digital technology, and public open spaces. Indore's success has not only set a benchmark in India but has also inspired cities globally. The city's consistency in winning awards and accolades was acknowledged as a testament to its exemplary governance.
The Minister extended his congratulations to the 31 cities that received awards for their outstanding projects and initiatives. He praised the 840 applications received for the awards this year, emphasizing the well-deserved recognition of the awardees. The Minister also commended Surat and Agra for securing second and third places among cities and acknowledged the states of Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh for their commendable contributions.