Nearly a decade back, everyone was fascinated and intrigued about the idea of smart-phones. Today, while smart-phones have become common, the buzz about smart cities is catching up. In fact, according to a recent report from Navigant Research, the global smart city technology market is expected to grow from $8.8 billion annually in 2014 to more than $27.5 billion by 2023 (Navigant Research, 2017). But, what exactly is a smart city?
A smart city, much like a smart-phone, is a city with high-tech communication capabilities. It uses digital technology & IT services to enhance performance and well-being, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens. Mentioned below is everything you need to know about smart cities and its introduction in India:
The Beginning: The idea of a smart city came into formulation owing to the need to accommodate rapid urbanization of the age. Moreover, driven by a rage of socioeconomic and technological developments all around the world, interest in smart cities continues to grow. Also, owing the increasing number of smart cities around the globe, established suppliers from energy, transport, buildings and government sectors are moving into smart city market, while start-ups are addressing a range of emerging opportunities in the same field.
Scope of Smart Cities in India: The idea of smart cities had been introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision ‘Digital India’. According this vision, his plan is to build 100 smart cities across the country. Digital India envisages making India a leader in digitally delivering services in health, education and banking sectors. Moreover, a recent development observed in the smart city project was, the meeting held on 16th February 2015, confirming partnership between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg’s Philanthropies with regard to the advancements of the initiative. As reported by Domain, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide assistance to the urban development ministry to select cities for smart city mission, funding the latter on a continuous basis (Domain, 2015).
Way Forward: In order for smart cities to be successfully implemented in India, the Internet Class of the country needs to be considered. It is estimated that the Internet Class in 2018 will be more rural, older, more gender-equal, more mobile and more vernacular than their counter parts of today. Rural users which will be the Internet population of the future, is expected to rise from 29% in 2013 to 40-50% in 2018 (iamwire, 2015). Moreover, urban companies are outsourcing their work to talent in rural areas through virtual offices in India, making the rural population more tech-savvy. Hence, by 2018, the rural population will stand on equal footing with the urban population in terms of internet usage and accessibility. Hence, the smart city project needs to be designed wisely, considering the local population as the key point. Also, it has to be careful as to not widen the already present gulf between the rural and urban class. A nation should progress taking all its citizens along, irrespective of class differences, and caters to everyone’s needs equally.
In conclusion, as much as the vision of smart cities is incredible and rational, its implementation on India at the social-economic condition might be a little difficult. However, as a fast-developing economy, the country needs to keep up with global standards. Hence, the execution of this plan could make India take a major leap in the race of development.