The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) launched its flagship Smart Cities Mission in July 2015. The core infrastructural elements in a smart city are adequate and assured water and electricity supply, efficient sewage and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, affordable housing, robust information technology connectivity and digitisation, good governance (especially e-governance and citizen participation), a sustainable environment, safety and security of citizens (women, children and elderly), and health and education facilities. Till date, 90 cities have been selected by the ministry. In Round I, 20 cities were selected followed by 13 in the Fast Track Round, while in Round II, 27 cities were shortlisted. Further, in June 2017, 30 cities were selected under Round III, which included Naya Raipur at the second place and Rajkot in the third place.
The smart city transformation will be fuelled by the use of advanced technology and the deployment of intelligent and information management systems. The objectives of the Smart Cities Mission can be accomplished at an accelerated pace with higher reliance on information and communications technology (ICT).
Naya Raipur: India’s first smart greenfield city
The smart city proposal for Naya Raipur, spread over an area of 237 sq. km with over 10,000 residential units and housing around 3,000 families, envisages an investment of Rs 16 billion, of which Rs 10 billion has been allocated for area-based development and the remaining Rs 6 billion for pan-city initiatives. The city has undertaken several initiatives to become a functionally integrated capital city. These include the development of a 100 km road network (both four-lane and six-lane), 24×7 potable water supply, decentralised sewage treatment plants, an underground network for 14 indoor substations, 55 km of LED smart street lighting network, and an intelligent transport system-enabled bus rapid transit system (up and running since November 1, 2016). The Naya Raipur ICT initiative is currently under implementation. Besides, it is the first city to adopt and implement the transitoriented development approach whereby jobs, housing and other services will be concentrated around public transport stations.
In April 2017, the Raipur Municipal Corporation, the special purpose vehicle (SPV) implementing the mission in the city, awarded the contract for development of the smart city to IL&FS and Schneider Electric. The two companies will develop and run the project for five years. The project entails setting up of hardware for sensors to enable data collection, deployment of operating technology for controlling information and enterprise control for the development authority to monitor and control the smart city.
As part of its ICT initiatives, the city plans to develop a smart governance system, a utility management system, a city surveillance system, an integrated building management system, a centralised control and data centre and an intelligent transport system. It will leverage the collective intelligence gathered from integrating the physical, institutional, social and economic infrastructure to ensure an improved quality of life for the local population. It also plans to develop IT-enabled systems for managing a host of utilities using state-of-the-art technology.
As part of its goal to improve service quality through smart governance, the Naya Raipur government aims to establish a GIS-based land and estate management system, a single-window access system, a grievance addressal system and an m-governance portal. To create a safe and secure environment within the city, it plans to set up a video management and analytics system as well as a CCTV dashboard. Further, for effective monitoring, control and decision-making, the utilities management system will make use of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, which will be integrated with the existing intelligent street lighting system. Automatic number plate recognition cameras and speed violation detectors will be used for restricting unauthorised access. The city will have a centralised command and control system for operational and technical integration as well as crisis management. All smart buildings will be equipped with fire detection alarms, video surveillance systems, proper communication systems, and efficient heating, ventilation and conditioning systems.
Further, the communication system has been planned for both wired and wireless services of voice, data and value-added services (VAS). An overlay area network has been proposed in the city, which will have four loops to cover the total area with optical fibre , making it the backbone of modern communication and data transmission in Naya Raipur. Besides, backbone infrastructure such as ducts will be facilitated for the city-level telecom network for wired broadband and VAS. The development of passive infrastructure in the city for wireless services, such as GSM/CDMA and 3G/WI-Max, has also been proposed. In addition, pay-and-use parking systems, city guide maps, emergency alert and crisis response systems, and traffic rerouting applications based on real-time traffic data have also been planned for the future.
Meanwhile, Naya Raipur is among the five cities in the country that have been chosen as “Demonstration Cities” for the central government’s Sustainable Urban Transport Project. The other cities are Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Mysore in Karnataka, and Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad in Maharashtra.
Rajkot: Hotspot for opportunities
The smart city proposal for Rajkot, with an area of 170 square km, envisages an investment of Rs 4.45 billion for pan-city development and over Rs 20 billion for area-based development. Rajkot Smart City Development Limited (RSCDL) is the SPV incorporated for the implementation of this project in the city. With regard to pan-city development, seven modules have been completed. These include GIS-based online utility services, an integrated command and control centre, an enterprise resource planning and city dashboard, intelligent traffic and integrated transport systems, and electric transport. At present, four modules are under implementation.
In September 2017, the state government launched the Rs 690 million “Rajkot Eye-Way” project, including a city-wide surveillance network with 1,000 cameras, an auto alert disaster management system, smart LED displays, environmental sensors, and Wi-Fi. Further, in April 2017, around 800 teams from all over the country participated in the Rajkot Smart City Hackathon whereby innovative solutions for resolving day-to-day problems of a city were discussed.
To ensure smart water and waste management, the city plans to develop integrated SCADA systems for water distribution, install smart meters at the household level for effective centralised monitoring, adopt efficient billing solutions, develop a leak identification system to reduce internal water leakage, integrate SCADA systems for sewage treatment, equip solid waste trucks with GPS and GIS facilities and promote the use of smart bins. In addition, RSCDL aims to establish smart grids offering redundant power supply and underground cable connectivity, and install level sensors at lakes for flood alerts, pan-city Wi-fi network, smart LED street lights and environment monitoring stations. Some of the other key upcoming projects are a 500 tpd waste-to-energy plant, five biomethanation plants, 18 organic waste converters, and 50 e-public toilets (of which 10 have already been installed based on the PPP model), an 8.5 km bus rapid transit system ring road, a 2 MW solar park, and a 38 km long cycle track with a solar rooftop, among others.
The way forward
Technology-oriented initiatives, especially the development of an integrated command and control centre, have been a key focus area under the Smart Cities Mission. Greater reliance on ICT will go a long way in complementing urbanisation and improving the quality of public utilities and governance systems. Going forward, digital disruptions like internet of things, cloud and big data will be the key enablers in the creation of smart cities. However, issues such as lack of collaboration between cities, delays in the approval of projects, and lack of investments need to be tackled on an immediate basis to ensure the timely execution of projects.