[ecis2016.org] The government will add 40 more cities by February, to the list of towns it wants to develop as Smart Cities and provide funds to them for initiating urban reforms
Union minister, M Venkaiah Naidu, on January 11, 2017, announced that the government is planning to add 40 new cities to its list of Smart Cities, taking the total to 100. Since January 2016, the government has announced three lists of smart cities, which will get Rs 200 crores for improving their infrastructure.
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“There is an urban renaissance taking place. We have problems but our cities and towns are galvanised to meet new challenges, new ideas and new orientation,” said the urban development minister at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit. The approach, he said, is to make cities more livable.
“We have identified 100 cities across the country. 60 cities are already on the move. This month or next month, we will be adding another 40 cities to take it to 100 smart cities across the country. However, even 100 is not sufficient for a country of India’s size,” he said.
Naidu said the housing sector offers ample opportunities, following various schemes announced by the government. “By 2022, everyone must have a house of his own. That is the ambitious programme set by the prime minister. There have been announcements recently, on lowering interest rates for affordable housing and this, coupled with the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act, will be a boon for the housing sector,” he said.
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India is the only bright spot in a world where economic growth rates are slowing down, he said. The country is undergoing a massive transformation, Naidu said. “States are competing and there is a healthy competition amongst states, vis-à-vis development,” he added. On making Delhi’s landmark Connaught Place vehicle-free, Naidu said the response to the proposal had been positive. “It should be a place for people to eat, meet and greet. I want such places all across the country,” he said.
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