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Smart City Mission

August 17,2017


The conceptualization of Smart City varies from city to city and country to country, depending on the level of development, willingness to change and reform, resources and aspirations of the city residents. To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban eco-system, which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development -institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure. In the approach of the Smart Cities Mission, the objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions. Application of Smart Solutions will enable cities to use technology, information and data to improve infrastructure and services. Comprehensive development in this way will improve quality of life, create employment and enhance incomes for all, especially the poor and the disadvantaged, leading to inclusive Cities. The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities.

The core infrastructure elements in a smart city would include:

  • adequate water supply
  • assured electricity supply
  • sanitation, including solid waste management
  • efficient urban mobility and public transport
  • affordable housing, especially for the poor
  • robust IT connectivity and digitalization
  • good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation
  • sustainable environment
  • safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly
  • health and education.


Some typical features of comprehensive development in Smart Cities are described below:

  • Promoting mixed land use in area based developments
  • Housing and inclusiveness – expand housing opportunities for all
  • Creating walkable localities –reduce congestion, air pollution and resource depletion, boost local economy, promote interactions and ensure security.
  • Preserving and developing open spaces.
  • Promoting a variety of transport options – Transit Oriented Development (TOD), public transport and last mile para-transport connectivity
  • Making governance citizen-friendly and cost effective
  • Giving an identity to the city – based on its main economic activity, such as local cuisine, health, education, arts and craft, culture, sports goods, furniture, hosiery, textile, dairy, etc;
  • Applying Smart Solutions to infrastructure and services in area-based development in order to make them better. For example, making Areas less vulnerable to disasters, using fewer resources, and providing cheaper services.


The strategic components of area-based development in the Smart Cities Mission are city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment) and city extension (greenfield development) plus a Pan-city initiative in which Smart Solutions are applied covering larger parts of the city.


Only the capable cities will be chosen under the Smart Cities Mission through a two-stage competition. In the Stage-1 of City Challenge Competition, each State and Union Territory will score all their cities based on a set of criteria and nominate the top scorers as per the indicated number of potential smart cities for participation in the Stage-2 of competition.

The evaluation criteria for Stage-1 of competition within the State/UT is as below:

  1. Existing Service Levels (25 points): This includes Increase in service levels over Census 2011, an operational Online Grievance Redressal System, publication of at least first monthly e-newsletter and online publication of municipal budget expenditure details for the last two financial years on website.
  2. Institutional Systems and Capacities (15 points): This covers imposition of penalties for delays in service delivery and improvement in internal resource generation over the last three years.
  3. Self-financing (30 points): This would be reflected in payment of salaries by urban local bodies up to last month, auditing of accounts up to FY 2012-13, contribution of internal revenues to the Budget for 2014-15 and percentage of establishment and maintenance cost of water supply met through user charges during 2014-15.
  4. Past track record (30 points): Percentage of JNNURM projects completed which were sanctioned till 2012, Percentage of City level reforms achieved under JNNURM and extent of capital expenditure met from internal resources. The 100 potential smart cities nominated by all the States and UTs based on Stage-1 criteria will prepare Smart City Plans which will be rigorously evaluated in the Stage-2 of the competition for prioritizing cities for financing. In the first round of this stage, 20 top scorers will be chosen for financing during this financial year. The remaining would be asked to make up the deficiencies identified by the Apex Committee in the Ministry of Urban Development for participation in the next two rounds of competition. 40 cities each will be selected for financing during the next rounds of competition.

Stage-2 criteria for evaluation of Smart City Plans is as below:


  1. Credibility of implementation: This encompasses improvement in operational efficiency over the last three years as reflected in average time taken to give building plan approvals, increase in property tax assessment and collection, collection of user charges for water, improvement in power supply, easing of traffic congestion, online accessing of statutory documents through adoption of IT etc.
  2. City Vision and Strategy: As reflected in the degree of correlation with the needs and aspirations of the residents, use of ICT to improve public service delivery, impact on core economic activity and inclusiveness.


  1. Impact of proposal: To what extent the proposal is inclusive in terms of benefits to the poor and disadvantaged, Extent of employment generation, Articulation of quantifiable outcomes based on citizen consultations, Impact on environment etc.
  2. Cost effectiveness of Smart City Plan: Application of smart solutions for doing more with less of resources, Alternatives considered to enhance cost effectiveness of the proposal, firming up of resources required from various sources, Provision for Operation & Maintenance Costs, IT interventions to improve public service delivery.
  3. Innovation and Scalability: Extent of adoption of best practices in consultation with citizens, Applicability of project to the entire city, Adoption of smart solutions and Pan-city developments.
  4. Processes followed: Extent of citizen consultations, vulnerable sections like the differently abled, children, elderly etc., ward committees and area sabhas and important citizen groups, Extent of use of social media and mobile governance during citizen consultations and Accommodation of contrary voices in the strategy and planning.


  • Smart leadership and vision at this level and ability to act decisively will be important factors determining the success of the Mission.
  • Understanding the concepts of retrofitting, redevelopment and greenfield development by the policy makers, implementers and other stakeholders at different levels will require capacity assistance.
  • Major investments in time and resources will have to be made during the planning phase prior to participation in the Challenge. This is different from the conventional DPR-driven approach.
  • The Smart Cities Mission requires smart people who actively participate in governance and reforms. Citizen involvement is much more than a ceremonial participation in governance. The participation of smart people will be enabled by the SPV through increasing use of ICT, especially mobile based tools.



The success of the government’s Smart City Mission is largely dependent upon the finance generation at the State-level as well as private investments. The Centre has set aside Rs. 48,000 crore for the mission and the money will be released to urban local bodies at frequent intervals in the next five years. The Centre has asked the State governments to generate the rest of the Rs. 48,000 crore as the grand total of the mission is estimated at Rs.96,000 crore.

**Jammu and Kashmir has asked for more time to decide on the potential Smart City.
** 12 cities have been shortlisted from Uttar Pradesh against 13 cities allocated to the State.




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