The Smart Cities Mission of the Government of India under the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) is an innovative and new initiative to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens. To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, it is envisaged to ideally aim at developing the entire urban eco-system, which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development such as institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure. It is a long term goal and cities will have to work incrementally to achieve the objectives.

The universal definition of a ‘smart city’ does not exist. The concept of smart city varies from one city to the other based on parameters such as the existing level of development, willingness to change and reform, available resources; and importantly the hopes and aspirations of the city residents. From this perspective, the definition of a smart city would have a different connotation in India than, say in the developed nations of the West.

In the approach of the Smart Cities Mission, the objective is to promote cities that aim for sustainable and inclusive development that would have the trickle-down effect in the adjoining fringe areas.

Objectives aspired for

Under the Smart City Mission, the following set target areas also called the core structural elements of a smart city have been identified. It is not exhaustive and cities are free to add more according to local needs assessment-

  • 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, and
  • Health and education.