THE IDEA behind funnelling a majority of funds under the Smart City project into small pockets is to create replicable models for the rest of the cities, according to the Ministry of Urban Development which is in charge of the mission.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Urban Development Secretary Rajiv Gauba said that since infrastructure is capital intensive, it has been allowed only under area-based development and not for the entire city.
“The idea of ABD is to initially start with a small part of the city, where it can be successfully done, and then replicate it in other places. Pan-city solutions are relatively less expensive and more technology-driven and hence can be done across the city. Both pan-city solutions and which areas will be taken up under ABD have been decided by the cities themselves and it has been done through a consultative process with the people,” he said. Read: Mapping expenditure: 80% Smart City funds for just 2.7% of city area
Gauba said that the mission is not about only spending the money allocated by the central and state governments. “This is just the seed money. Cities have to leverage the money that is being given as grant so as to get funds from other sources and do it in larger areas later,” he said.
Asked about maximum resources being channelled into small areas, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Urban Development said that in the limited mission period of five years, it would not be possible to make cities free of infrastructure deficit.
“This is the reason why our ministry has decided to go for small areas so as to guide the city governments on how to create lighthouse projects that are replicable. At the end of the five years, if the experience is unpleasant, we will go for a review,” said the official.