Smart Cities- Maharashtra Chapter

Addressing the urban in India

India’s urban story is one of contradictions and multiplicity. More importantly, it is beset by a sense of urgency to address diverse issues which are distinctly urban. Official government data says the country is urbanising at a rate of 31%, with a population of 377 million currently living in its urban areas. And by 2031, India’s urban population is expected to increase to 598 million.

In such a scenario, how does the government tackle the many issues of India’s cities and towns? Can the Smart City Mission be one of the means to do so?

SMART City Mission- in India and Maharashtra

The Smart City Mission (SCM) launched by Government of India in 2015, seeks to harness Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to improve city liveability, efficiency, productivity and governance.

The 2 main components of SCM are-

  • Area Based Development (ABD): Carrying out retrofitting, redevelopment or greenfield development projects in the selected area, which is to serve as a ‘lighthouse’ for the rest of the city
  • Pan-city: Implementing ICT-enabled governance reforms throughout the city

In Maharashtra, 9 cities were selected; Pune, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Nashik, Nagpur, Solapur, Aurangabad, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Amravati.

The role of INHAF

At INHAF, we are focusing on:

  1. Developing a comprehensive understanding of SCM from the perspectives of diverse stakeholders
  2. Exploring the convergences and divergences between SCM and other GoI urban missions
  3. Feeding into SCM by producing constructive and systematic feedback analysis
  4. Making advocacy efforts in order to articulate a people-centric perspective

As such, INHAF has made efforts towards-

  1. Building strategic partnerships with different stakeholders– INHAF played a key role in building up the Smart City Coalition-a voluntary organisation of experts coming together to produce actionable suggestions on SCM in Maharashtra and India
  2. Producing City Profile on Smart City Solapur- INHAF, through interviews with multiple stakeholders, media analysis and budget analysis of SCM projects in Solapur, prepared a report on Smart City Solapur

By taking up such a project, INHAF seeks to address larger issues of accountability and inclusion in governance in India’s urban story.