Centre Considers Extending Smart Cities Mission Deadline for Project Completion

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in News?
  • What is Smart Cities Mission?

Why in News?

With only 15 days left until the June 30 deadline, the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry is thinking about extending the Smart Cities Mission. This extension would give cities more time to finish ongoing projects, which make up about 10% of all the projects.

What is Smart Cities Mission?

  • About
    • It was launched on 25 June, 2015, with the objective to promote cities that provide core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environment.
    • 100 cities have been selected to be developed as Smart Cities (through a two-stage competition) in various rounds from 2016 to 2018, with each getting five years from their selection to complete the projects.
      • I.e., the original deadlines were from 2021 to 2023.
      • After the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the deadline for all 100 cities was fixed to June 2023 in 2021.
      • In May last year, the Ministry again extended the deadline, this time to June 30, 2024.
    • It is a Centrally Sponsored Schemeunder the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
      • The Central Government will give financial support to the extent of Rs. 48,000 crores over 5 years i.e., on an average Rs.100 crore per city per year
      • An equal amount on a matching basis is to be provided by the State/ULB.
  • Principles

The six fundamental principles on which the concept of Smart Cities is based are:

  • Objective of SCM
    • It will ensure a decent quality of life to their citizens through the application of ‘smart solutions’.
    • It aims to drive economic growth and improve quality of life through comprehensive work on social, economic, physical and institutional pillars of the city.
    • The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development by creation of replicable models which act as lighthouses to other aspiring cities.
  • Financing of Smart Cities Mission
    • The Smart Cities Mission in India is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
    • It requires state governments and urban local bodies (ULBs) to contribute an equal amount for implementing projects under the Smart City Proposal (SCP).
  • Performance of SCM
    • Out of the completed projects, 5,588 projects worth Rs 65,996 crore were funded under the Mission.
      • The remaining are from the cities’ own resources, PPP mode, convergence with other missions and other sources.
    • All 100 cities have set up Integrated Command and Control Centres at a cost of Rs 11,775 crore.
    • The different categories which account for the top categories of completed works include:
      • water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects worth Rs 44,300;
      • smart mobility projects worth Rs 33,019 crore; and
      • smart governance projects worth Rs 15,474 crore.
  • Report of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs
    • In February 2024, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs has submitted its report on the evaluation of the Smart Cities Mission presented in the Lok Sabha.
    • The report said that 400 projects, out of the 7,970, worth Rs 22,814 crore would take beyond December 2024 to complete.
      • Among the various reasons cited by the report for the delays were difficulties in resettlement of local population and legal issues such as land procurement.
      • Frequent transfers of smart cities’ CEOs and delay in projects that require convergence with other government ministries or agencies were also flagged.
    • It further said that in case of non-completion of these projects within the extended time frame, the state governments concerned will have to complete the projects at their own cost.

Q.1. What is WASH project?

The WASH project refers to initiatives and programs focused on improving Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in communities, particularly in developing countries. These projects aim to provide access to clean drinking water, improve sanitation facilities, and promote good hygiene practices to enhance public health and well-being.

Q.2. What are urban local bodies (ULBs)?

Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) are administrative units in urban areas that are responsible for providing basic infrastructure and services to the urban population. They play a critical role in urban governance and development. ULBs are established by state governments and function under state legislation in India.

Source: With around 10% of projects left, Centre considers extension of Smart Cities Mission | Hindustan Times | Money Control