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On what basis are the 98 smart cities shortlisted ?

“Is there a political motive? Am I living in a financially backward state? Probably my CM/local leader  doesn’t have a voice”. We have heard these since the list came out. 

Lets evaluate it ourselves now!!

The Union government has unveiled a list of 98 cities with Uttar Pradesh taking the largest share of developing 13 smart cities followed by Tamil Nadu, which qualified to develop 12.


How were they selected?

  • Past track record under JNNURM, service levels, financial strength to decide selection at State level
  • Economic impact of smart city plan, inclusivity, e-governance, citizen participation to decide financing of smart cities in Stage-2
  • They  were evaluated based on their financial and institutional capacities and past track record.

The Selection Process

  • In the Stage-1 of City Challenge Competition, each State and Union Territory will score all their cities  based on a set of criteria
  • The cities emerging successful in the first round of competition will be sent by the State/UT as the recommended shortlist of smart cities to MoUD by the stipulated date (to be indicated in the letter to Chief Secretaries).
  • The State Government has to fill the form  and send with the recommended list.
  • The MoUD will thereafter announce the list of 100 smart cities for participation in the Stage-2 of competition.
  • In the second stage of the competition, each of the potential 100 smart cities prepare their proposals for participation in the ‘City Challenge’.

The evaluation criteria for Stage-1 of competition within the State/UT is as below:

  1. Existing Service Levels (25 points) : This includes Increase in service levels over Census 2011, An  operational Online Grievance Redressal System, Publication of at least first monthly e-newsletter and online publication of municipal budget expenditure details for the last two financial years on website.
  2. Institutional Systems and Capacities (15 points): This covers imposition of penalties for delays in service delivery and improvement in internal resource generation over the last three years;
  3. Self-financing (30 points): This would be reflected in payment of salaries by urban local bodies up to last month, Auditing of accounts up to FY 2012-13, Contribution of internal revenues to the Budget for 2014-15 and Percentage of establishment and maintenance cost of water supply met through user charges during 2014-15.
  4. Past track record (30 points) : Percentage of JNNURM projects completed which were sanctioned till 2012, Percentage of City level reforms achieved under JNNURM and extent of capital expenditure met from internal resources.

Stage-2 criteria for evaluation of Smart City Plans is as below:


  1. Credibility of implementation  : This encompasses improvement in operational  efficiency over the last three years as reflected in average time taken to give building plan approvals, increase in property tax assessment and collection, collection of user charges for water, improvement in power supply, easing of traffic congestion, online accessing  of statutory documents through adoption of IT etc.
  2. City Vision and  Strategy : As reflected in the degree of correlation with the needs and aspirations of the residents, use of ICT to improve public service delivery, impact on core economic activity and inclusiveness.


  1. Impact of proposal : To what extent the proposal is inclusive in terms of benefits to the poor and disadvantaged, Extent of employment generation, Articulation of quantifiable outcomes based on citizen consultations, Impact on environment etc.
  2. Cost effectiveness of Smart City Plan : Application of smart solutions for doing more with less of resources, Alternatives considered to enhance cost effectiveness of the proposal, firming up of resources required from various sources, Provision for Operation & Maintenance Costs, IT interventions to improve public service delivery.
  3. Innovation and Scalability : Extent of adoption of best practices in consultation with citizens, Applicability of project to the entire city, Adoption of smart solutions and Pan-city developments.
  4. Processes followed : Extent  of citizen consultations, vulnerable sections like the differently abled, children, elderly etc., ward committees and area sabhas and  important citizen groups, Extent of use of social media and mobile governance during citizen  consultations and Accommodation of contrary voices in the strategy and planning.

Implementation and financing:

  • Government has announced Rs. 48,000 crore for development of 100 Smart cities out of which 98 names are declared and rest two will be nominated in due course.
  • States/UTs and Urban Local Bodies have to make an equal matching contribution. This in effect means that central and state governments and ULBs will invest Rs. 96,000 crore over the next five years for making 100 chosen cities smart.
  • UD Ministry will provide Rs. 100 crore per city per year over the next five years.
  • Additional resources have to be mobilised from other sources including collection of user fees, beneficiary charges, land monetisation, debts and loans to execute the project.
  • Borrowings from financial institutions, accessing National Investment and Infrastructure Fund and from private sector through PPPs are also options available for the project.
  • More than a dozen leading countries have expressed keen interest to associate themselves with this Mission which include US, UK, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, China, Singapore, Israel, Australia.
  • Smart City Plans will be implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle to be set up for each identified city to enable a focused effort for effective implementation.
  • States/UTs and Urban Local Bodies will have 50 : 50 equity in SPV.

Some facts:

  • In the first round of this stage, 20 top scorers will be chosen for financing during this financial year.
  • The remaining would be asked to make up the deficiencies identified by the Apex Committee in the Ministry of Urban Development for participation in the next two rounds of competition.
  • 40 cities each will be selected for financing during the next rounds of competition.
  • Of those chosen for the project, 24 are capital cities, 24 are business hubs and 18 are cultural centres.
  • Cities like Patna, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram and Shimla have failed make the cut in round one.
  • The 98 cities selected under Smart City Mission have a population of about 13 crore accounting for over 35% of the country’s urban population.
  • Under Smart City Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), 80% of total urban population would benefit from enhanced quality of living.

Sources: smartcities.gov.in, The Hindu, IE, PIB, NDTV, ET.

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