NEW DELHI: The framework for NDA government’s stated goal of developing 100 smart cities will soon be finalised and the plan would allow plenty of opportunity for participation to the private sector, the Centre said today.
“We are in the process of finalising the framework for smart cities. It is a huge exercise and all possible pitfalls, effects and other factors are being considered before announcement of the policy,” Urban Development Secretary Shankar Aggarwal said at an event here.
Aiming to provide better facilities and amenities in urban areas, government announced a plan to develop 100 smart cities in the general budget this year.
There will be many opportunities for the private sector in the proposed smart city project, Aggarwal said.
Asked whether the government was considering any tax proposals to generate funds for the smart city project, he answered in the negative.
“At the moment, no such proposal is under consideration,” he said.
He said there will be a lot of job opportunities during the implementation of the smart city plan and added that, “all the proposed 100 smart cities will be developed simultaneously”.
“Existing cities will be developed as smart cities. There may be two or three new cities which come up as smart cities but, primarily, it will be existing cities which will be taken up for the smart city project,” Aggarwal said.
Asked whether there will be a nodal agency for executing the smart city project, the UD secretary said, “May be there will be a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to execute it. But that has not been finalised yet.”
Meanwhile, taking note of the “plethora of rules and regulations” regarding land acquisition and obtaining approval in the housing sector, Aggarwal said, “The Prime Minister has already asked the Urban Development Ministry to look into all old laws. We are going to cut down on those.
“Let us revisit all rules and regulations and whatever can be repealed should be repealed. We have to make it citizen- centric rather than regulatory-centric.”
Taking note of rapid urbanisation, the UD Secretary said, “People will migrate from rural to urban areas in search of employment… 65 per cent of our GDP comes from the urban sector. So, today, the government is also focusing on resources in the urban sector.”
The role of the government is that of “facilitator” and catalyst in urban growth, he added.
Advocating “vertical growth” of cities, Aggarwal said, “There is a crisis of land availability. A lot can be achieved through land-pooling policy. We must use the existing land to make wonders and that can be done with vertical growth.
“Connaught Place is today the most expensive area in the world as far as land value is concerned. That is because no more land is available there.”
As to the plan to develop heritage cities, Aggarwal spoke of the project for Varanasi and said it would be a pleasant experience for a visitor there after the renewal and rejuvenation of the temple town
Source : ET.