The pro-RSS ‘Vijnana Bharati’, an organisation working in the field of science, is holding a two-day seminar in Mumbai beginning on Saturday where some of the leading industrialists and experts will debate the vision for the Smart Cities. Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, whose ministry is piloting the project, will be the main speaker at the seminar, while Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is also scheduled to participate.
RSS sources said they had discussed the idea of Smart Cities with Venkaiah and suggested that local solutions and traditions be kept in mind while developing the cities. “The government should not merely aim to emulate Singapore, but also make use of local technological solutions and factor in the needs while designing these cities,” a senior leader linked to Vijnana Bharati said.1
The body has even floated a special website where suggestions related to ‘Bharatiya’ concepts be incorporated for the new cities. “Building just a society signifies something more than mere administration of laws. It means every individual; group of community must get a fair treatment and a just share of the fruits of development,” says the concept note for the smart city developed by Vijnana Bharati. It added that as urban areas consume more natural resources, it creates a rift with the rural areas. “...discordant relations among different social groups and eventually be seen as a lop-sided growth promoting injustice”
“Any urban vision that ignores the social realities will generate cities with islands of prosperity that will survive amidst a general squalor...our cities must address critical issues like affordable housing, healthcare, education, skill development and general quality of life,” the note added.
The two day conclave would have separate sessions on physical infrastructure, social infrasturctuire, environment, technology and governance.2