Progress has been slow. Projects have been limited to small areas.
- 100 cities selected for Rs 500 crore central grant
- Only small pockets and populations in each city stand to benefit
- Critics call it ‘smart enclave scheme’
- Slow progress as only 1.83% of the funds utilised till March 2018
- Many cities have seen evictions and displacements
The core infrastructure must include the assured supply of water, power, sanitation, solid waste management, public transport and affordable housing “especially for the poor”. The smart solutions are largely technology-based interventions such as traffic management using cameras and public transport using mobile applications and the Global Positioning System or GPS.
But critics say the mission is creating “smart enclaves” at best. Analysis by the Centre for Policy Research shows small slices of land benefitting small fractions of the population in the selected cities are set to claim around 80% of the total funding under the Smart City Mission.
Analysis by the non-profit Housing and Land Rights Network shows many of the winning cities’ proposals do not contain anything for marginalised sections and do not even mention affordable housing.
Progress is implementing the mission has been slow – only 1.83% of the funds released by government had been utilised till March 2018.
The Housing and Land Rights Network studied the smart city proposals from a human rights perspective and found questionable approaches to migrant labour and the homeless. While some cities proposed to build shelters and low-cost accommodation, others advocated strict action against any form of “squatting” and “encroachment”.
The proposals lack “concrete plans on how housing will be provided to the urban poor and the most marginalized individuals, groups, and communities”.