- The government’s initiative for creating 100 smart cities achieved a major milestone as the various stakeholders came out with the criteria for the selection and ranking of cities and also broadly agreed on innovative financing models and urban governance reforms to be implemented as part of the project.
- Among the basic eligibility conditions suggested by the states and other stakeholders for participation in the ‘Smart City Challenge’ were the need for a vision and city development strategy, progress under Swachh Bharat Mission, timely payment of salaries to municipal staff, information and grievance redressal mechanism and e-newsletter.
- As per an official release, the final recommendations of states and other stakeholders were presented at the concluding plenary session chaired by the Minister of State for Urban Development, Babul Supriyo.
- The states have suggested two sets of reforms separately for small and metropolitan cities, land monetisation, increased FAR norms with transparent policies, quick progress towards e-governance and online service delivery.
Integrated GIS-based Master Plans
- It includes plans for sanitation, mobility, land use, digital connectivity, disaster risk management and climate change, policy reforms, fixed tenures for mayors and municipal officials, improving revenues through 100 per cent collection of taxes and user charges and credit rating of urban local bodies were suggested as part of the reforms in urban governance.
- The states suggested that in addition to the PPP model, they should be given the option of EPC (Engineering Procurement Contract), user-fee based concessions to promote private sector participation, imposing impact fee on organisations that benefit from improved infrastructure and making cluster-based projects to improve viability of projects for private funding.
- Support for making projects viable for private investors, unbundling of services to make projects investment worthy, creation of a low-cost pooled fund with the support of Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Pension Funds, Sovereign Funds and credit rating of cities have also been sought by the states.