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Govt extends timeline for execution of Smart Cities Mission to 2023

Govt extends timeline
Submitted by Tanveer Padode on December 17, 2021

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs informed Parliament that the Centre has extended the deadline for implementing the Smart Cities Mission until June 2023. The pandemic, according to officials, is to blame for the delay.

The ambitious program's physical progress, which aims to develop citizen-friendly and self-sustaining urban settlements, was previously expected to be measured only by 2021 when the first 20 of them were to be completed.

On June 25, 2015, the government announced a project to transform 100 cities into smart cities. From January 2016 to June 2018, cities were chosen through four rounds of selection.

A city must be completed in a minimum of five years; the first 20 cities were chosen in January 2016.

The winners of the first round of the Smart City Challenge competition 2016 were Bhubaneswar, Pune, Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Jabalpur, Visakhapatnam, Solapur, Davanagere, Indore, New Delhi Municipal Council, Coimbatore, Kakinada, Belagavi, Udaipur, Guwahati, Chennai, Ludhiana, and Bhopal.

The government intends to use the mission to focus on innovative digital technologies that are linked to its Digital India initiative, such as surveillance systems, to reduce crime and improve residents' safety. There are plans for projects in e-governance, mobility, integrated traffic management, and solid waste management.

The process begins with the establishment of an implementing agency, a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which is jointly promoted by the state or Union Territory and the local government, each with a 50% equity stake. The Companies Act of 2013 governs the SPV, which was formed as a limited company.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has begun work on finalising its recommendation for providing Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs) as a service to states and smaller cities, as the Centre prepares a 60-point action plan in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with secretaries of all departments and ministries in September.