New Delhi: With the government naming 20 cities to be developed as 'Smart Cities', industry experts Wednesday said the project will require huge fund mobilization that could be brought about by public-private partnerships.
"The 20 shortlisted cities comprise a mix of cities from all regions of India with high economic and industrial potential.
"Developing the project in the shortlisted cities would ensure quality infrastructure, technology-enabled services, sustainable public transport," said Sanjay Dutt, Managing Director, India, Cushman & Wakefield.
Arindam Guha, Senior Director, Deloitte in India said: "There are no winners or losers here."
"The really smart cities will build on the effort already put into developing the Smart City plans and take some of the implementation forward, especially those which do not require significant financial outlays like increasing walkability by improving pavements or are largely supported by private investment like wi-fi facilities in public spaces, beautification of public places through corporate sponsorships or advertisements," he said.
Schneider Electric Infrastructure VP and MD Prakash Chandraker said herculean effort has gone into the elaborate evaluation process for selecting these 20 cities out of the shortlist of 98 that was drawn up last year.
"The sheer size and scale of the initiative is unprecedented and unparalleled anywhere in the world," he said terming the day as watershed for the country.
Chandan Chowdhury, Managing Director, Dassault Systemes, said building smart cities will require considerable system integration, simplification and standardisation of geo data which will be key enablers of building projects across India.
Jaijit Bhattacharya, Partner, Infrastructure and Government Services, KPMG in India said the shortlisting was a culmination of intense efforts from the government and multiple stakeholders.
"We are confident that today's announcement will further accelerate the transformation of cities into smart cities and will witness very significant investments coming in," he said.
Dutt said the Smart Cities project aims to provide world-class infrastructure in Indian cities.
"The government's shortlisting of 20 cities after careful scrutiny of various parameters such as feasibility of plan, effectiveness and result-orientation, etc over a period of time would result in higher quality of life for citizens," he said.
Affordable housing, which is already a priority for the government, would receive a further boost through the project.
If robust IT frameworks, connectivity and digitization are enabled in smart cities, there would be a marked improvement in the quality of infrastructure.
"The Smart Cities Project would require huge fund mobilization that could be brought about by public-private partnerships for developing smart cities," he said.
Incentivizing infrastructure development would lead to higher private participation in the formation of smart cities, he said, adding that the shortlisted cities would require to fine-tune and detail their proposals to establish their efficacy and begin implementation.
"The announcement of 20 smart cities marks the onset of a smart city revolution in India... Not only will these cities have enhanced basic infrastructure, but they will also offer opportunities in efficient urban mobility, waste management, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation," Chandraker said.
Technology innovation will be a key enabler to smart city projects, 3D mapping applications, modern architecture, urban planners, power generators will all help leverage technology to deliver 'more' using 'less' and create a sustainable city that improves the life of citizens, Chowdhury said.