20 October, 2020

Cities In The Red

Will investors prefer smaller, more profitable cities?

A view of Visakhapatnam and its beach
Photo by Jitender Gupta
Cities In The Red

The NDA government announced in 2015 that it was allotting over Rs 7,000 crore for 100 “smart cities”, creating a ripple of excitement, although it was not quite clear what a ‘smart’ city was. Sarkari guidelines said: “Cities are engines of growth for the economy”, but “there is no universally accepted definition of a Smart City”. So analysts had to tease out the link to Modi’s mantra of economic growth: if urban populations were to grow to 40 per cent, that would contribute 75 per cent of GDP by 2030.

The next mantra was that provision of core infrastructure (in waste management, water, energy and transport) would be accompanied by ‘smart’ solutions. Thus, GIS, CCTVs, chips, sensors, cellphones, broadband and so on would be used to collate and manage information. This would not only lead to more efficiency, but also enhance the revenue stream of service providers.

The guidelines offer four ways of achieving this: retrofitting, under which existing infrastructure in some 500 acres will be improved;...



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