What’s the progress of Smart Cities Mission?

So far, 20 cities have identified 642 projects amounting to Rs 25,935.02 crore

By Sonia Henam
Published: Thursday 22 June 2017

Presently, out of 60 Smart Cities, 55 cities have incorporated city-level SPVs for implementation of the mission. Credit: Wikimedia CommonsThe government launched its flagship "100 Smart Cities Mission" on June 25, 2015, and announced the first list of 20 cities in January 2016. It then offered a special fast-track window for 23 cities that were rejected in the first round to upgrade their proposals, out of which, 13 cities were selected on May 24, 2016. In the second round, 27 more smart cities were announced in September 2016.

The list of smart cities in the third round will be announced tomorrow, June 23, 2017. A total of 45 cities have participated in the third round of Smart City challenge, of which 30 will be selected to be developed as smart cities. The names of 30 new cities will take the total smart cities count to 90.

'Smart city' is a city equipped with basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment through application of some smart solutions. Creating smart cities would entail development of basic infrastructure like adequate water supply, electricity supply, sustainable sanitation and solid waste management mechanism, efficient urban mobility, affordable housing and ensuring robust IT connectivity and e-governance.

Strategy adopted

The strategic components of area-based development (ABD) in the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) are city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment) and city extension (Greenfield development), along with a pan-city initiative in which smart solutions are applied covering larger parts of the city.

Area-based development (ABD)



Identify an area of more than 500 acres and prepare a plan to make it more efficient and livable with citizens’ participation (Connaught Place in Delhi, Bhendi Bazar in Mumbai).



Introduce smart solutions in an area of 250 acres by using innovative planning (land pooling/land reconstitution in Outer Delhi, GIFT city in Gujarat)



Replace existing built-up area (50 acres) and prepare a new layout plan with enhanced infrastructure by way of mixed land use (Kidwai Nagar in Delhi).


Pan-city development

Use technology, information and data to make existing city-wide infrastructure and services better. For example, initiating waste water recycling and smart metering which can make a substantial contribution to better water management in the city.

Source: Smart Cities Guideline, MoUD

Model for smart city development

The government does not prescribe any particular model to be adopted by the Smart Cities. The approach is not ‘one-size-fits-all’. Each city has to formulate its own concept, vision, mission and plan (proposal) for a Smart City that is appropriate to its local context, resources and levels of ambition.

Cities prepare Smart City Proposals (SCPs) using the principles of strategic planning process and the proposals contain area-based development plans and pan-city initiatives. Preparing SCPs is a collaborative effort because the objectives and funds of all government departments, parastatals and private agencies are taken into consideration. The citizens participate during the process of preparing the SCPs. As the task of preparing the SCPs is quite challenging, the States/ULBs seek technical assistance by either hiring consulting firms or engaging with handholding agencies.

How are the Smart Cities selected?

 Source: http://smartcities.gov.in/writereaddata/SmartCityGuidelines.pdf

Role of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)

The implementation of the SCM at the city level is done by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) created for the purpose. The SPV plans, appraises, approves, releases funds, implements, manages, monitors and evaluate the Smart City projects. Each smart city has a SPV headed by a full time CEO and has nominees of Central government, state government and ULB on its Board.

Financing of Smart Cities

The SCM is operated as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) and the Central Government proposes to give Rs 48,000 crores over five years, with an average Rs 100 crore per city per year. As States/ULBs have to contribute a matching amount, total amount likely to be allocated for Smart Cities development will be about Rs one lakh crore.

The project cost of each SCPs varies depending upon the level of ambition, model and capacity to execute and repay. The funds from the Centre and the matching contribution by the States/ULB will meet only a part of the project cost. Balance funds are expected to be mobilised from private sector through public-private partnerships (PPPs).

The distribution of funds under the Scheme

Credit: www.smartcities.gov.in What has been the progress so far?

So far, the government has approved smart city plans worth Rs 133,764 crore for the 60 cities. The project cost of each smart city proposal will vary depending upon the level of ambition, model and capacity to execute and repay.

Table shows the details of how much amount has been approved in each city challenge

City challenge


Total cities

Total urban population impacted

Total cost of Projects (in Cr.) (Including other cost – O&M, Contingency, etc)

Round 1






Fast track






Round 2












Source: Centre for Science and Environment, 2017

According to response given by Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State (Urban Development), in the Rajya Sabha on March 16, 2017, Rs 5,961.70 crore has been released to the cities under SCM during financial year 2015-16 and 2016-17. It also mentioned the implementation of the SCM is on course. At city level, it is done by a SPV. After establishment of SPVs, Project Management Consultants (PMCs) have to be procured by SPVs to convert the SCPs into projects.

Presently, out of 60 Smart Cities, 55 cities have incorporated city-level SPVs for implementation of the mission. For designing, developing, managing and implementing the SCPs, PMCs have been set up in 23 cities. Request for proposals (RFPs) for appointment of PMCs have also been floated in other 22 cites. Regular reviews are undertaken at the State and Central level to monitor the progress of the Mission. 

So far, 20 cities have identified 642 projects amounting to Rs 25,935.02 crore. Out of this, 23 projects (worth Rs 304.97 crore) have been completed, works in 65 projects (worth Rs 2,736.90 crore) have started, request for proposals for 79 projects (worth Rs 6,351.39 crore) have been issued and remaining 475 projects (worth Rs. 16,541.76 crore) are at pre-tendering stage or feasibility study stage.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :
Related Stories

India Environment Portal Resources :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.