Report Card of Smart City contenders: Metros are half done as Small towns take early lead

Real Estate

As 98 cities gear up for developing under Smart City Mission, the smaller towns outperformed metro cities in the initial stage. Small towns are working more efficiently in an online forum and with citizens for taking inputs to make their city better. Tiruchirapalli, Mangluru, Raipur, Jaipur, Ujjain, Kalyan-Dombivali, Surat and Indore are rated above 90 out of 100 on score-card.

Small towns are leaving no stone unturned to achieve their target, but a performance of metro cities is disappointing. Chennai was ranked number 21 whereas others such as Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune and Ahemadnagar were lagging far behind. The cities were rated on the basis of their communication and feedback from people about their Smart City plan through three basic online platforms: the urban local body (ULB) websites, Facebook page and the Union government website mygov.in. The study on public data openness was initiated by a group of master students and alumni of Urban Planning from the Ahmadabad based Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) University. The team has launched ‘Smart Cities Watch’ to keep periodical track of cities performance through different stages of the mission. The Ministry of Urban Development has agreed to provide the required data to act as one of the tools to monitor the progress of the mission.

Under the public data openness method, the Smart City contenders are rated on.
1. Official website (maintained by ULB)
a. Availability of website
b. Updates on smart city
c. Web page taking suggestions
2. Mygov.in
a. Smart City link to Mygov.in
b. Discussions on Mygov.in
3. Separate Facebook Page for the Smart City
a. Availability of official Facebook page for Smart City
b. Posts on Facebook page
c. Likes on Facebook page

The concept of Smart Cities was originated in the United States of America, later it reached Europe and then came to developing countries. The team has reviewed various indicators for tracking Smart Cities including US Smart Cities Council, TU-Vienna, European Union and ISO37120 for Smart communities. Globally, the use of information and communication technology was started in the eighties and nineties while the Indian cities started late after the huge gap of 15 years. The recent study shows that 12 out of 98 Smart Cities do not have a ULB website. Out of 86 remaining cities, 37 are yet to upload details on website about their Smart Cities initiatives. So far, only 18 cities use their website for inviting suggestions from citizens. Talking about the start of Citizens forum for Smart Cities on mygov.in website 23 Smart Cities are not linked with the Union Government website. In this case also, small towns took early lead. Bhopal and Indore are leading with over 20,000 discussions. Sholapur and Jabalpur follow each of them respectively.

A record is almost same for Facebook pages created by 30 of the Smart City contenders. Expect Chennai, none of the other metro cities has started individual Facebook page for interacting with their citizens. The maximum number of activity has been recorded from the city of Tumakuru in Karnataka, Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirappalli. The city received a maximum number of response on mygov.in is 28,000. Being the hub of Information Technology in Maharashtra the city has its own mission web page, Facebook page and twitter handle. The city has launched their Android app also.

As per the sources, the Pune Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar has said, that more than 70 per cent feedback to Smart City mission has received through online forums. On the basis of received feedback, Pune will finish working on their New Delhi Awas Yojna plan by the end of November, a month before Centre’s Smart City plan submission deadline in mid-December.

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