Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the flagship Smart City Mission into implementation mode with launch of 14 projects of Pune’s Smart City Plan, exactly a year after he set off the mission by releasing the Mission Guidelines.
Speaking on the occasion to a packed audience in the 5,000 capacity Shiv Chatrpati Sports Complex in Pune, Prime Minister said that Smart City Mission is now succeeding as a people’s movement as envisaged. He expressed satisfaction over citizen participation in preparation of smart city plans of various cities with over 25 lakh people giving serious suggestions on MyGov.in. Modi clarified that the central government did not select the smart cities but it was the citizens who enabled their selection in the ‘City Challenge Competition’. He asserted that if people were empowered and involved for participatory development, country will progress fast.
Narendra Modi said that an era of competition has been ushered in for improving conditions in urban areas and urged the citizens to rise to the challenge for bettering the conditions in respective cities and towns.
Stating that he has recently reviewed the progress of Smart City Mission over the last one year, Prime Minister expresses satisfaction over enthusiastic and large scale participation of people in formulation of comprehensive smart city plans, the way the City Challenge Competition was held for selection of cities, formulation of projects there under and their launch today. He complimented the team led by Minister of Urban Development M.Venkaiah Naidu.
During his 35 minute address, Prime Minister elaborated on the concept of smart cities and the advantages that follow from it. Modi stressed that it should not be seen as a fancy concept since the mission is meant for ensuring availability of all basic services to the people though necessary infrastructure including houses for urban poor in a comprehensive manner. He referred to extensive use of digital technology in the smart city plans for improving the quality of governance and public services.
Asserting that urbanization mitigates poverty and empowers the poor, Modi said that it should be seen as an opportunity instead of a problem. He stressed that if people were empowered and involved in participatory development, the country would develop fast. Noting that an era of competition among cities and towns has come to prevail, he urged the citizens to rise to the challenge for improvement of respective urban areas.
Referring to the changing attitudes, Modi said that gone were the days when the central government was looked as a giver of funds; it was now being looked at as a source of ideas. Elaborating on this, Modi said that in all the recent surveys conducted, Swachh Bharat Mission was ranked the most popular of government’s initiatives since the idea of sanitation appealed to the people.
The Prime Minister also launched ‘Make Your City Smart’ contest inviting people to come out with designs for street, junctions and open spaces and a ‘Smart Net Portal’ which is a net based platform for sharing of ideas and sourcing of solutions for smart city development.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Urban Development M.Venkaiah Naidu said that the smart city projects launched today were the first shoots of urban renaissance taking place in the country as a result of paradigm shift in the approaches to urban development ushered in by the government. He further said that the journey towards the much desired urban transformation has begun in a Team India spirit with the collective effort of people, urban local bodies and State Governments. This transformation is an integral part of ‘Making of Developed India’, he said.
Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh Smt.Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Naveen Patnaik and N.Chandrababu Naidu outlined their smart city vision through videolink.