Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the Urban Development Ministry to identify parameters like basic infrastructure, quality of life, and citizen-centric services that would be essential to developing 100 cities under the Smart Cities project.

Chairing a high-level meeting with officials on Monday, he said one of the aims of the initiative should be to improve the quality of urban governance, lending greater strength to the overall governance of the country.

With 40 per cent of the country’s population expected to live in urban areas by 2030, at least 80 per cent of that area is yet to be built. This is equivalent to a new Chicago being built every year.

Instructing the Ministry to convene a workshop of all central and State urban development authorities at the earliest, he said focus should be on reforms in laws related to urban development.

Mr. Modi told officials that cities should be identified as hubs of economic activity, and there should be adequate focus on turning “waste to wealth,” which includes solid waste management and waste-water treatment. The Prime Minister also asked government officials to visualise “urban-dependent” population, in addition to “urban” population, while planning for these smart cities.

The Urban Development Ministry has asked the States to ensure that the cities that are picked under the Smart Cities initiative meet the broad contours listed by it, including economically viable cities, meeting the requirements of e-governance and citizen services, urban mobility and energy efficiency.

While the States have been asked to draw up a short list by January 1, the Centre will take a final call based on criteria like cities accounting for 54 per cent of incremental GDP till 2025, hill and coastal areas, tourist and religious centres and mid-sized cities.


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