The BJP led NDA government which is being spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has allocated a sum of Rs. 7600 crore in the General Budget 2014-15 for the development of over 100 smart cities across India in a bid to ensure the rapid growth of the Indian economy while offering better career options and civic amenities in these urban hubs. This, as per the new government would bring India at par with some of the most developed nations of the world.
The introduction of the maiden Budget in the Parliament saw Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley indicating at the government’s vision of creating these smart cities to function as satellite towns for larger cities across India, including modernizing existing cities as well as building new ones. If this happens, these schemes would be able to restrict the population drain towards bigger cities, which has been happening quite rapidly since few decades.
Curbing Challenges related to Population Growth Rates
The government’s move can be considered as an attempt to tackle the increasing population problem Indian cities currently face. The migration of individuals from rural India to the more modernized cities like Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, etc. has also led to immense pressure being placed on the civic amenities and resources available in these mega cities.
Several reports have indicated that urbanization in India would lead to an increase in its GDP growth by nearly five times within 2030. The reports also suggest that the major cities in the nation would house over 590 million people each, with employment generation rates growing by nearly 705 owing to the same. By 2030, over 68 cities in the country would have a population of 10 lakh individuals as compared to the present 42 cities.
The rising population growth rates would soon force India would soon start to face challenges in trying to meet the infrastructure, housing, energy, transportation, educational, health care and employment needs of its urban population. Residents of Delhi are already facing problems like water and power scarcity in addition to poor sanitation, infrastructure, healthcare facilities, educational facilities and law and order due to the increase in the population growth rate.
The Smart City Concept
Taking all these challenges into consideration, the Government came up with the idea of deciding to develop 100 urban hubs across the country, a move which has been welcomed by many. A smart city would typically be an urban hub which would run on technology, with the government providing better water supply, sanitation facilities, electricity, educational institutes and transport systems.
Via its smart city concept, the government aims to push forward the concept of a ‘Digital India’ all over the nation. By introducing digital classrooms in schools, increasing high speed internet access throughout the country, introducing online/re-visas and offering online delivery of several services via the integration of many Government departments, one can be rest assured that the Naredra Modi led government is very keen on transforming India’s status from ‘developing’ to ‘developed’, and from ‘a regional player’ to ‘a global player’.