As the NDA government mission of Smart cities and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation scheme (AMRUT) gains pace, Uttar Pradesh is seen leading the numbers with 13 smart cities and 54 cities under AMRUT cities scheme nominated within the state, highest in the country so far.
In conversation with an official, it was stated that each state has been given a fixed number of cities to be nominated as a smart city based on two main criteria- Population of the city/town and the number of statutory cities/town (one that has a notified municipal body) within each state. It has also been ensured that each state gets to nominate at least one smart city to maintain the geographical parity.
The selection is further divided into a”city challenge” competition involving two stages. In the first stage called the “intra-state” competition, all cities and towns in each state is evaluated as per the guidelines laid down by Ministry of Urban Development. The second stage in an “inter-city” challenge where in the 100 nominated cities shall lay out an extensive plan of development and then get assessed by a panel of experts.
Of the cities selected, the funding shall be done in a phase wise manner with top 20 cities being funded in 2015-16, the next 40 in 2016-17 and the balance 40 is the following year. Currently it has been identified that about 500 cities with a population of more than one lakh residents contribute to more than 73 percent of urban population of India which enhances the need for planning out the cities even more.
The AMRUT cities scheme involves rejuvenation of 500 towns/cities which have a population of above one lakh. However an exception is taken in terms of population for Hill cities, island cities, towns of tourist importance, and towns on the main stem of Ganga. Currently 476 towns/cities have already been finalized.
Talking about the numbers, Uttar Pradesh is followed by Tamil Nadu with 12 smart cities and 33 AMRUT cities being nominated and Maharashtra which has nominated 10 smart cities and 37 AMRUT cities. Other states like Gujarat and Karnataka have nominated six smart cities each and 31 and 21 AMRUT cities respectively. Rajasthan and West Bengal get to nominate four smart cities each while Punjab, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh gets to nominate three smart cities each.
Of the smart cities, Dholera in Gujarat has been identified as the first one to be developed and trunk infrastructure project has already been started in an activation area of 22.5 square kilometers.