As of now, the Indian government has initiated several campaigns to make India digitally empowered. Under this digital transformation vision, Smart Cities Mission aims to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens.
The focus of smart cities mission is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act as a lighthouse to other aspiring cities. The Smart Cities Mission has a vision that can be beneficial for both within and outside the Smart City, which catalyse the creation of similar Smart Cities in various regions and parts of the country.
For making smart cities mission possible, IoT and other advanced technologies play a major role. From observing data to analyzing it in real-time help municipalities, enterprises, and citizens for making better decisions that improve the quality of life. Today, anyone can improvise the energy distribution streamline trash collection, decrease traffic congestion, and even improve air quality with the help of IoT.
Smart City Missions Aim:
- Expanding house offers for everyone
- Walkable localities, which will automatically reduce congestion, air pollution and resource depletion. Not only this, it will also give a boost to the local economy, promote interactions and ensure security.
- Creating or renovating roads for private and public transport as well as for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Promotion of various transportation system
- Providing online services to bring transparency and accountability
- Provide a unique identity to a city, based on its local cuisine, health, culture, arts and craft, education, dairy, sports goods, hosiery, furniture, textile, etc.
- Usage of smart solutions on services as well as infrastructure in development that is area-based, in order to make them better
Although, the Indian government has announced numbers of development programs for the smart cities mission, in the last few months it is not showcasing any new developments. Last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everything had been kept on hold and now, slowly the development work in smart cities mission is taking pace.
Recently, under the smart cities mission scheme, the Shimla Municipal Corporation has announced to set up monorail service in the city. This development aims to attract more tourists, benefit local commuters, and increase the corporation’s income.
According to the latest report by PTI, some smart cities such as New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Ujjain and Sagar have plans to install smart nameplates or digital door numbers (DDNs). The smart nameplates will be linked to the connection of electricity and water bills, property tax, licence fees, etc. This nameplate is going to be helpful for public and private service providers that can improve service delivery such as ambulance, police, public grievances, etc.
With the motive of smart cities mission, the Chandigarh Smart City Limited has announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Municipal Corporation. More than 18 major works of the city will be taken care of by Municipal Corporation and the capital expenditure will be handled by Smart City Limited.
Slow Pace of the Smart Cities Mission
The Smart Cities Mission has been introduced in 2015 to comply with a total of 5,151 projects worth Rs 2,05,018 crore in 5 years from the date of launch, only 2,189 projects worth Rs 35,457 crore (18%) has been completed till now.
This smart cities mission planned to provide core infrastructure and decent quality of life in 100 selected cities. Recently, a panel in parliament has raised concern about it and requested the government to focus on timely completion of projects to prevent cost overruns.
The panel also highlighted, that till January 31, 5,422 projects worth Rs 1, 76,911 crores have been tendered and utilisation of Central funds have also increased from 10% in March 2018 to 83% in January 2021. The mission has to be completed within five years, but still, it is nowhere near completion.
Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs while talking to a news portal, shared that certain cities have no basic facilities. First, they need to have 24×7 water and power supply, housing for all, proper education and health facilities-before they can attempt to become ‘smart cities’.
The leading global market research and consulting firm Frost and Sullivan has said that by 2026, there will be only 26 fully developed smart cities in the world. None will be from India.
The Role of startups
Here are a few startups that are helping smart cities mission:
- Gaia: Mumbai-based IoT startup Gaia is one of the companies which is helping in India’s smart cities mission. Gaia offers insights-as-a-service, bringing data from users, sensors, and digital channels to bring real-time visibility and deep analytics into the last mile. In-built rules and an AI-based action engine can generate alerts and enable rapid response. Gaia solutions has been accepted by several companies for managing multi-location and multi-parameter metrics at sites across industries including facilities, buildings and campuses, transport hubs, airports, railways, etc.
- Cubical-Labs: Based in Delhi, Cubical Labs’ wireless, home automation solutions can be controlled remotely through a mobile device from anywhere in the world. Its Cubical SmartHomes’ smart energy consumption notify users – through their smartphones – about spikes in energy consumption by tracking and managing energy usage in real-time. Any person can control devices like lights, air-conditioners, fans, and other appliances in their homes remotely, even dimming lights to save energy and reduce eye-strain, for example.
- FluxGen Engineering Technologies: Founded by Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) alumni, FluxGen Engineering Technologies works on renewable energy systems, micro-grid, smart meters, etc.
- Altiux Innovations: Altiux Innovation is one of the companies, which supported the smart cities mission in India. Altiux offers specialized engineering services across the entire IoT development cycle (full stack) from consulting, device engineering, cloud and mobility application development, data analytics, and support & maintenance.
- SenseGiz: SenseGiz makes enterprise and industrial IoT products for sensor-based condition monitoring, security and real-time asset/people tracking applications using a combination of proprietary mesh connected hardware, cloud, analytics and apps. As work on smart cities picks up pace, the IoT revolution brims with opportunities. Many experts believe that technology will chart the path for a multi-trillion dollar industry within the next decade.