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September 10, 2015

Smart Cities contest spurring municipal improvements?

The Indian government's Smart Cities initiative attempts to bolster urban growth through the selection of 100 cities in which "smart" development projects will be given government support. This Hindustan Times article showcases incidents that show how cities may be incentivised by the scheme to improve the functioning of their municipality on all fronts:


"Faridabad made it to the smart cities list because its municipality had taken several steps to general revenues and make the civic agency financially sound. An online grievance mechanism was in place and so was an e-bulletin. Another reason why Faridabad secured second position in the state-level contest is that the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad paid salaries to its employees on June 30. Even 59 employees who retired on June 30 have been paid their dues... Karnal was chosen because it had audited balance sheets uploaded online,  citizen engagement and e-newsletter.


Ghaziabad had an overall score of 82 points in an assessment for smart cities conducted over 20 different parameters. It also stood 138th among 476 cities in the Swachh Bharat rankings, factors that helped it score over its neighbours in NCR and make the cut.


'Ghaziabad could make it to the final list because of its infrastructure development. The city is currently extending the Metro network from Dilshad Garden to New Bus Stand and has also started work on building an18-km cycle track. The concept of mixed land-use already exists in Ghaziabad....'


The reasons why Gurgaon did not make the cut were multiplicity of authorities and a weak municipal corporation. Gurgaon missed the smart city bus due to its civic mess and poor local governance...."

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