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Is India Ready for Smart Cities?

By Kanika Saini

Technology is a word which all of us are familiar with; it’s simply an addition to the stock of new ideas which helps to regulate things, in an easier and faster way.

With ever-rising population, crime, threats of terror attacks and an indispensable need of proper facilities in education, energy and healthcare, the government is taking bold steps towards the development of 100 smart cities in India. Citizens should feel safe and will benefit from efficient civic services, it will be easy to do business as a simple online process for approval will be in place, and above all it aims to be sustainable, and environment friendly.

Cities contribute to 70% of our GDP, and house 30% of the country’s population on just 3% of our land. It’s envisioned that there will be heavy urban migration in the next couple of decades, which will put pressure on urban infrastructure. From a current 377 million it will rise to 843 million, and therefore to accommodate this massive urbanization, India needs to find a way to improve the quality of life by using urban space that is ecologically friendly, technologically connected and squarely planned.  Moreover, smart cities will act as a magnet for investors; many countries are keen in investing in smart city projects, which is a great opportunity for India. As  Spain has the largest network of high speed trains, as well as strong infrastructure, highways, ports and developed renewable energy, this will help India in developing the same. Nations like Japan have pledged to help turn Varanasi into a smart city, while American companies will help improve facilities in the cities of Aurangabad, Ajmer and Vishakhapatnam.

Smart cities will help in maintaining a better environment, as they aim to prevent any wastage of resources; for example, sensors will be placed to detect leakages in water pipes, on seeing piles of waste on a street, residents can simply take a picture, send it via email and authorities will react immediately. However, behind this whole ambitious project, a doubt arises –

Will smart cities actually able to provide these services on a long term basis?

India requires not only technology but also basic governance, and physical infrastructure which we lag behind in.

China is Modi’s inspiration to create an era of digitization and urbanization in India, they have the tools and resources to plan and manage growth, they annex surrounding rural areas and use land revenues to fund urban development. All these strategies have allowed China to urbanize rapidly, with infrastructure and services keeping pace with an increasing urban population. The Indian government has now realized that in order to turn dreams into reality, it’s necessary to update their strategic plan for growth.

Kanika Saini is currently carrying out with her economics honors degree from a renowned institute of India, Lady shri ram college for women. She is from Gurgaon and did her schooling from “summer fields school “.She has been working in NGO as a volunteer for a year at “Indian cancer society”. She volunteered at various cancer institutes including AIMS ,prashanti cancer centre etc. She also did street plays on awarness of breast cancer at medanta hospital ,gurgaon. She is currently working as a HR intern in marketing department of a travel agency “made to travel”. She is now a part of  a prestigious “the economics times” columnist program,as a intern.

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