First batch of Smart Cities to be announced today
Urban Development Minister M.Venkaiah Naidu ha said that the first batch of winners of Smart City Challenge Competition will be made public January 28.
He said so while addressing participants of a Course on ‘National Security and Strategic Studies’ at National Defence College in the national capital. 100 senior officers including 25 from foreign countries belonging to Army, Navy, Air Force and civil service are attending the course.
Speaking on Urban Development Challenges and Way ahead, Naidu said that perpetuation of inequities in urban areas has serious implications for national security and hence, the government is committed to ensure inclusive development under new initiatives like Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart City Mission, Swachh Bharat and Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana (Urban).
The Minister further stressed on the need for inclusive urban development noting that “ it was the need of the hour with ‘Young India’ becoming more and more aspirational”.
Naidu expressed concern over the well to do sections of the people exploiting urban spaces at the cost of the poor and the marginalized.
He said that “inclusivity should be ensured while taking decisions regarding urban governance, citizen participation, public transport and infrastructure etc. and the Government is endeavoring in this direction.”
Emphasizing the need for sustainable urban development, Naidu said “cities should be water positive through water harvesting, recycling and reuse of water, energy positive with each household resorting to renewable sources of energy and community positive facilitating interactive neighborhoods”.
The Minister informed that the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation earlier this week approved a Rs.253 crore plan for enabling 10,000 houses of economically weaker sections in Tamil Nadu produce solar power through roof mounted solar panels. He referred to the growing impacts of climate change and urged the citizens not to use vehicles to buy a milk packet, buy vegetables and go to the nearby park for morning walk. The Minister advocated living in harmony with nature through green friendly construction and living.
Naidu said that the Government has reoriented urban development approaches to ensure inclusive development through mandatory citizen participation in urban planning and project identification, provision of basic infrastructure to the poor like water and sewer connections, affordable houses for 2 crore urban poor, promotion of cycling and pedestrian pathways, provision of open spaces, transparent and responsive governance, adoption of technology for efficient service delivery and infrastructure use etc.
The Minister further informed that project based and ad hoc urban development approach hitherto followed has been substituted by area based development and project formulation after detailed gap analysis. States and urban local bodies have been empowered to identify, appraise and approve projects with his two urban ministries withdrawing from appraisal and approval of individual projects.