House panel report: 68 smart cities missed physical targets

The report by the house panel indicates that 68 Smart Cities did not reach their physical targets by January 2023.

Smart Cities
On the other hand, 32 Smart Cities have gone beyond their project targets, achieving more than planned, with some completing up to four times the original goal I Representational Pic: Wikimedia Commons

According to a report by the Standing Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs, there are significant differences in the completion of targets under the Smart City Mission (SCM) in different cities.

The report states that 68 Smart Cities have not met their physical targets by the end of January 2023. In contrast, 32 Smart Cities have exceeded their project targets, completing more than planned, and sometimes even four times more. The report notes that the total number of completed projects is misleading, as it includes the excess projects accomplished by the 32 performing Smart Cities.

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The report also highlights that the Ministry has extended the Mission period until June 2023 to complete the remaining projects. The Committee acknowledges the challenges on the ground, including the Covid-19 pandemic, multi-sectoral projects, and local challenges related to land and labor. However, it stresses that the Ministry should rigorously pursue with the lagging Smart Cities to ensure that both physical and financial targets are achieved by June 2023.

The Committee notes that 100 Smart Cities proposed projects worth Rs 2,05,018 crore under the Mission, out of which 7,821 projects worth Rs 1,81,349 crore have been taken up. So far, 5343 projects worth Rs 1,00,450 crore could be completed. The Smart Cities Mission was launched on June 25, 2015, with the objective of promoting cities that provide core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environments, and a decent quality of life to their citizens through the application of ‘smart solutions.’

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The Ministry has released Rs 36,561 crore out of the overall financial support of Rs 48,000 crore for the Smart Cities Mission, with Rs 33,012 crore (90% of the total released) utilized by the smart cities. The Committee notes that the stipulated period of five years for the Smart City Mission, which began in 2015, has been completed.