The Draft ‘National Urban Policy Framework (NUPF)’ outlines an integrated and coherent approach towards the urbanisation in India and we are seeking citizens’ comments on this through the SmartNet and MyGov portals to put in place a comprehensive urban policy which would result in complete urban transformation in the country in coming years, says Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Government of India, in an exclusive interview with Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN).
What is your assessment of the progress of ‘Smart Cities Mission?
Smart cities programme of such a scale has never been undertaken in any part of the world till date.
It is important to make cities of future with high livability index. What is your opinion on this?
The ‘Smart Cities Mission’ is like lighthouse project for us. Urbanisation is taking place rapidly in our country. In the next three decade, more than 50 percent of population will be living in urban areas. Are we prepared for tomorrow? Are we prepared to provide urban amenities to such a huge chunk of urban population in future? That is why we are keeping the benchmarks very high. Smart Cities Mission is a step in the right direction. Proper planning along with technology will help us to use available resources in an efficient manner and the mission is showcasing that. We are trying to ensure that future cities would be sustainable and livable.
How technological innovation is playing an important part in India’s urban overhaul?
Technology is extremely vital and data is the game changer. Analysis of data is helping us in decision making. Earlier, every city was doing something or the other in its own way, but now we are trying to synchronise everything with the help of technology and innovation. This will help in the reduction of cost, promote local entrepreneurship, etc. There are 40 researcher fellows with the ministry who are all engaged in analysing the data to find solutions to various urban challenges. Apart from ‘Smart Cities Mission,’ there are other ambitious government flagship programmes like ‘Swachh Bharat Mission,’ etc. Do you think that these kinds of convergence of various programmes to bring transformation in urban landscape have worked well?
There is no doubt about it. The ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ has been one of the most important contributors to make cities smart. Unless the cities are neat and clean, how can be they smart and beautiful? Add to this, ‘Housing for All’, ‘AMRUT’, ‘National Urban Livelihood Mission’, etc; all of which have been converged to ensure the success of Smart Cities Mission.