Published On: Tue, Feb 10th, 2015

Smart Cities are more for the poor, says M.Venkaiah Naidu

10926426_1051869001506118_2333305838756955712_nNew Delhi: Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu has asserted that ‘Smart Cities to be built seek to ensure socio-economic inclusivity besides promoting employment generation through increased economic opportunity by enhancing the ease of doing business and as such would benefit the poor the most’. He elaborated on the objectives of, challenges and opportunities in building smart cities at a Conference on ‘100 Smart Cities : Need for Innovative and Integrated Approach’ organized by the Indian Chambers of Commerce here today.

Shri Venkaiah Naidu further said that currently, the poor and the less endowed are deprived of equal right and access to public urban spaces whether it is roads, transport systems, water, power etc., and this need to be changed radically. He also said that poor are the losers on account of weak urban planning and governance structures and smart cities seek to address these deficiencies.

Stating that innovative approaches are imperative for building smart cities, Shri Naidu urged the corporates and investors to make a success of ‘People-Public-Private Partnership’ to meet the huge investment requirement.

The Minister said that central government seeks to promote adoption of best practices followed elsewhere while evolving an India specific model. He said that further to the experiences of implementation of JNNURM, the government is promoting a ‘bottom-up’ approach instead of ‘top-down’ approach by holding extensive stakeholders consultations with all the states and others.

Shri Naidu said that while the central government can mostly do hand holding besides providing some assistance and foreign willing countries can provide technical assistance, the states and urban local bodies have to rise to the occasion of building smart cities through necessary initiatives.

Dr.Nandita Chatterjee, Secretary (Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation) has said that Information and Communication Technologies would play a critical role in promoting smart practices, citizen participation and e- governance for better delivery of services. She however, cautioned that emphasis on technology should not result in technocratic and elitist design. Asserting that smart cities should offer economic and employment opportunities to a wider section of people, Dr.Chatterjee said that slum redevelopment, providing houses for all urban poor, skill development of urban poor for increased employment would address equity dimension of smart cities.

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