Weekly Current Affairs

Varanasi, Madurai on latest list of Smart Cities [Infrastructure]

  • Varanasi has made its way to the list of 27 new smart cities announced by the Urban Development Ministry.
  • Others being Agra and Kanpur, from Uttar Pradesh which goes to the polls next year, which are part of the list of new smart cities.
  • 27 cities, including Madurai, were selected after three rounds of competition, with the total number selected under Smart City Mission standing at 60.
  • The new 27 smart cities proposed projects worth Rs. 66,883 crore under Smart City Mission, including Rs. 42,524 crore under area-based development and Rs.11,379 crore for technology-based pan-city solutions.
  • With this, the total investment proposed by the 60 cities selected so far has gone up to Rs.1,44,742 crore.
  • With five cities, Maharashtra has the highest number of cities on the list. The 27 new cities are from 12 States, including four each from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, three from Uttar Pradesh and two each from Punjab and Rajasthan. Nagaland and Sikkim have made it to the list for the first time.
  • Amritsar topped the list of 27 new smart cities chosen among 63 total cities. Eight other cities of pilgrim and tourism importance that have made it to the third list are Ujjain, Tirupati, Nashik, Madurai, Thanjavur and Ajmer, apart from Agra and Varanasi.
  • Willingness and enthusiasm among the cities to participate in more than one round of competition is a clear evidence of the urban renaissance set in motion.
  • Competition-based selection has made the cities rediscover themselves as they are undertaking a thorough assessment of gaps in present levels of infrastructure and service delivery and come out with comprehensive, credible and actionable plans for area-based development and technology-based pan-city solutions.
  • The implementation of Smart City Mission is now spread over 27 States and Union Territories.
  • Each of these cities will receive a Central assistance of Rs. 200 crore in the first year and Rs. 100 crore over three subsequent financial years, and State govts and urban local bodies will match Centre’s contribution of Rs. 500 crore.
  • The Centre plans to transform 100 cities by 2019-20 by providing Rs. 48,000 crore in financial support over five years.