India is embracing the concept of Smart Cities with both arms wide open, and a few short months after inking pacts with the US Government, the plan has kicked into action.
Work of developing the countrys first smart city has already begun on the outskirts of the city of Gandhinagar, the capital of the state of Gujarat.
Right now there isnt much other than modern underground infrastructure and two office blocks, but the plan is to have drinking water on tap, automated waste collection and a dedicated power supply.
That doesnt necessarily say smart city, but alongside the cutting edge communication and connected infrastructure that will be put into place, the government is also opting for smart planning.
That probably means the city plan was designed based on a computer model, that tested many variations of things as simple as placement of street lights to maximise efficiency.
Smart Cities are Indias only option to house and employ the 814 million people that are estimated to live in Indian cities by the year 2050. The current urban population is pegged at 400 million.
This mass urbanization is what pushed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pass a plan outlining the building of 100 smart cities all over India by 2022. Moreover, all this wouldnt be possible with the help of the private sectors involvement.
In order to make that dream come true, India allocated $962 million in its federal budget for the financial year 2015-16 for the setting up of smart cities. Still, the government is looking at large tax and other breaks to lure banks, brokerages and businesses to invest in the program.
While planned cities arent new to India, the scale of what the government is trying to implement is unprecedented, and probably comparable to what China did during its economic golden years.
Moreover, the government is not only building new smart cities, but also retrofitting existing cities like Dholera, Surat and Visakhapatnam with infrastructure that will earn them the smart city tag.
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