A parliamentary committee has emphasised the need to launch the next phase of the Centre’s flagship Smart Cities Mission with a thrust on tier-2 cities located within 100 km of State capitals.
The Standing Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs also cautioned that digital infrastructure created under Smart Cities Mission (SCM) could be misused and hence there was a need to ensure right to privacy and securing of digital platforms from cyber attacks.
The report on “Smart Cities Mission: An Evaluation” was presented in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
The Smart Cities Mission was launched in June 2015 with an objective to promote cities that provide core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environment and give a decent quality of life to their citizens through the application of ‘smart solutions’. It chose 100 cities through a competitive process between January 2016 and June 2018. These cities were given a five-year time frame from the date of their selection to finish their proposed projects. Originally, the mission was supposed to be completed by June 2023, but an extension was given till June 2024 to complete the pending projects.
In its report, the committee said that considering that smart city projects are expected to be completed by the extended deadline in June 2024, there was a need for emphasis on the need for next phase of the Mission with a thrust on tier-2 cities, located between 50 and 100 km from capital cities and tourist cities. It said that the experience and expertise gained by Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) in urban development initiatives must be leveraged for the purpose.
Noting that Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs) with smart features for monitoring and managing cities have been operationalised in all the 100 Smart Cities, the committee recommended that the role of ICCCs in cities should be expanded by enabling them to provide a variety of services in the fields of health, internal security, waste management, traffic management, disaster management, e-governance etc.
It said that digital infrastructure created under Smart Cities Mission (SCM) is expected to generate and use large volumes of data from varied digital sources. It is thus necessary that a robust system should be put in place to protect digital platforms from cyber attack and to ensure that sensitive public and private data is adequately protected and safeguarded, the report recommended.