According to a Times of India report, cities across the country will compete for the 15 best projects across four areas including sustainable mobility,public open spaces, urban governance, and organisational innovation, in low-income settlements.
The stakes? Around Rs 800 crores! This scheme comes from the Centre, which also announced in New Delhi on Monday, that a grant of Rs 2 crore assistance each will be given to 25 cities and more than half a dozen state capitals for planned urban expansion.
Hardeep Singh Puri, the Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, told the publication that AFD, a French lending agency, will be providing around 100 million euros (approximately Rs 800 crore), for the 15 projects as a grant.
Both the Central Government in New Delhi and the respective State Governments will share the principal and interest amount. Each awarded project will receive a grant, ranging from Rs 20 crores to Rs 80 crores, according to an official release.
The project will go on for a duration of three years, and it is the first time any urban project will be selected through the ‘challenge mode’. The minister also mentioned that the government would provide Smart Cities fellowships and internship programmes, thus opening up various opportunities for youth to experience the gamut of urban planning and governance.
The optimistic minister has urged intelligent students from Indian and foreign universities to avail this opportunity and come out with landmark innovations. There is also the Digital Payment Award, which will be given to cities which promote ease of urban living by pushing digital payments, encourage smart cities and advocate innovative digital payment initiatives.
Puri also announced the names of the cities, which will receive central assistance worth Rs 2 crore to develop a Local Area Plan (LAP), and a Town Planning Scheme (TPS). The cities covered include Dehradun, Srinagar, Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Vadodara, Varanasi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Shimla, Faridabad and Indore, and the focus of this assistance is as follows:
1. The development of infrastructure in the already-developed Brownfield areas.
2. The development of the Greenfield areas—mostly on the periphery of the cities. These are the areas prone to haphazard growth and development.
The LAPs will be prepared for the existing areas or brownfield zones, for redevelopment, while Town Planning Schemes will be implemented for planned urban expansion in the peripheral greenfield areas.
The ministry said that urban infrastructure would be prioritised based on the formulation of the LAPs and TPS by the concerned cities, and the plans will be completed in a year.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)