With the Ministry of Urban Development asking the state governments to nominate by July 31st the cities and towns for inclusion under Smart Cities Mission, the Stage-1 of City Challenge competition got underway. As per the operational guidelines for Smart Cities Mission, released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 25, 2015, states have to nominate the assigned number of cities and towns from each state based on four broad criteria and a total of 13 Sub-criteria.
The four broad criteria being: Existing Service Levels in city/town (25 marks out of the total of 100 marks), Institutional Systems and capacities(15 marks), Self-financing (30) and Past track record and reforms(30 marks). Every State Government has to evaluate all cities/towns in that state based on these criteria and nominate the top performers as per the number assigned to each State. For instance, Uttar Pradesh is entitled to nominate 13 cities/towns for inclusion in Smart Cities Mission and the State Government has to suggest 13 top scoring cities/towns after evaluation of all urban local bodies in the State as per the stipulated criteria.
As per the weightages given per each criterion in the Mission Guidelines, present status of e-governance and revenue mobilization and financial strength of urban local bodies dominate the Stage-1 evaluation criteria accounting for 60 of the total 100 marks. 8 of the total 13 Sub-criteria are related to e-governance and financial strength including revenue mobilization of urban local bodies.
Details of this dominant criteria being:
1. Operational Online Grievance Redressal System -5 marks
2. Publication of at least first monthly e-newsletter -5 marks
3. Online display of municipal budget expenditure information for the last two financial years -5 marks.
4. Increase in collection of internally generated revenues during the last three years -10 marks
5. Payment of salaries by urban local body up to last month -5 marks
6. Percentage contribution of internal revenues of urban local body like tax revenue, user charges, rents to fund the budget -10 points
7. Extent of establishment and maintenance costs of water supply met through user charges during 2014-15 -10 marks
8. Percentage of internal revenues used to fund capital expenditure during 2014-15 -10 marks.
The other criteria to be used for evaluation of smart city aspirants in the Stage-1 of City Challenge Competition being: % of increase over Census 2011 in providing household toilets (10 marks), imposing penalties for delay in service delivery(5), audit of accounts up to 2012-13(5), Progress in respect of six ULB level reforms(10) and Percentage of JNNURM projects implemented(10 marks).
100 smart city nominations received from all the States and Union Territories will be put through State-2 of the competition based on an elaborate criteria before funds are released to the top 20 cities and towns during the current financial year.
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