The Indian government’s flagship program, the Smart Cities Mission, has been extended for the second time until June 2024. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs made the announcement on April 30, 2023, stating that the extension is aimed at giving cities more time to complete their planned projects.
The Smart Cities Mission was launched in 2015 with the aim of transforming cities into sustainable, citizen-friendly, and economically vibrant urban centers. The mission proposed to develop 100 smart cities across the country, with a focus on developing core infrastructure, improving the quality of life, and attracting investment.
The first phase of the mission saw the selection of 100 cities through a competitive process. These cities were given a fund of Rs 500 crore ($66 million) each to implement their smart city projects. The first phase of the mission was scheduled to be completed by 2020, which was later extended until June 2023.
However, due to various reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the progress of the projects was slower than expected. To address this issue, the government extended the deadline for the completion of the projects until June 2024.
With this extension, cities will get more time to complete their pending projects and undertake new ones. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has also assured that the funds allocated for the Smart Cities Mission will not be affected by the extension.
The Smart Cities Mission has already made significant progress in transforming cities across India. Cities such as Surat, Bhubaneswar, and Pune have emerged as models for other cities to follow. The mission has also brought about a culture of citizen participation, with residents actively participating in decision-making processes.
In conclusion, the extension of the Smart Cities Mission until June 2024 is a positive development that will enable cities to complete their projects and bring about a positive change in the lives of citizens. The mission has the potential to transform the urban landscape of India and make cities more livable and sustainable.