Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, emerged the winner among 13 cities from as many states in a Fast Track competition for the smart city project. With the 13 cities, a total of 25 States/UTs are now covered under Smart City Mission.
Interestingly, the City of Nawabs, a popular tourist destination, was missing from the list of the first 20 smart cities announced by the government in January this year.
Urban Development Minister M.Venkaiah Naidu said that Lucknow had improved its infrastructure by 19 per cent – the fastest among the 13 urban centres.
This is the list of Smart Cities:
In all 23 cities participated in the fast track round. The round follows the criticism the government received when it announced the names of the first 20 cities from a proposed total of 98 to be turned into Smart Cities.
The criticism was because of the fact that most of the 20 cities were in BJP-ruled or BJP ally states. of the 13 cities picked now, UP is ruled by Samajwadi Party, Telangana by TRS and HP by Congress.
A total investment of Rs.30,229 crore will be pumped in into the 13 cities.
Each of the cities picked under the Smart City mission will get Rs.500 crore from the Centre over five years for development purposes. The states are required to invest an equal amount.
As part of the smart city project, each city will have uninterrupted power and water supplies, internet connectivity, e-governance along with quality infrastructure.
Naidu said that Central assistance for improving basic infrastructure in urban areas has been increased to Rs.1,13,143 crore under new urban missions as against only Rs.33,902 cr during 2004-14.
He also said that the cities under the urban development missions will have long term five year action plans.
These 13 cities are among a total of 40 that would be selected during 2016-17. The remaining 38 will be selected during the next financial year.
Also, Naidu’s ministry has also now allowed seven capital cities – Patna, Shimla, Naya Raipur, Itanagar, Amaravati, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram – to participate in the competition. They were not on the list of the 98 smart cities on the Centre’s list.