Smart Cities India is all set to become the most-populous country in the world by 2030, making it the home to the biggest and the most under-penetrated market for global manufacturers and service providers. Unlike its preceding generations, this growing population is also shifting to top tier cities of the country giving rise to new megacities estimated to generate 80% of economic growth, with potential to apply modern technologies and infrastructure, promoting better use of scarce resources.
As per estimates, about 25–30 people will migrate every minute to major Indian cities from rural areas in search of better livelihood and better lifestyles. With this momentum, about 843 million people are expected to live in urban areas by 2050. To accommodate this massive urbanization, India needs to find smarter ways to manage complexities, reduce expenses, increase efficiency and improve the quality of life.
With this context, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision “Digital India,” has set an ambitious plan to build 100 smart cities across the country. Modi in his speech quoted, “Cities in the past were built on riverbanks. They are now built along highways. But in the future, they will be built based on availability of optical fiber networks and next-generation infrastructure.”
The Government of India allocated INR70.6 billion (US$1.2 billion) for Smart Cities in Budget 2014–15. Given the sheet scale of the development plan, the public resources would largely be insufficient and the government is working on envisaging new financing routes to boost the program.
The government machinery is working on putting together the standards for executing this mega plan, and identifying the cities to be developed in consultation with states. A few smart cities are already coming up across the country, including Kochi Smart City, Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) in Ahmedabad, Naya Raipur in Chhattisgarh, Lavasa in Maharashtra and Wave Infratech's 4,500-acre smart city near New Delhi.