With around 731 project proposals worth Rs.43,000 crore, India's Smart City Mission is certainly moving in a planned direction, but at a snail's space.
Urbanisation is an inexorable process as far as India is concerned. The future of India's growth lies in its cities, and a large chunk of our GDP will come from urban centres. It goes without saying that our existing cities were never planned to deal with the exponential levels of population growth currently being witnessed. What can be worse than witnessing civic resources being stretched beyond limits? Housing infrastructure is a casualty in unplanned urban growth, and as a consequence, so is the quality of life of people.
With 60 winning proposals worth over Rs 1.31 lakh crore, India's Smart City Mission will positively impact an urban population of more than 72 crore. Winning Smart Cities will be spending Rs 1.05 lakh crore on their area-based development plans and Rs 26,141 crore on pan-city solutions in the next five years.
In terms of project progress, 60 Smart Cities have submitted 731 project proposals worth Rs 43,769 crore, of which Rs 25,902 crore will be spent on core infrastructure and Rs 10,629 crore on other area-based development. With regards to pan-city development, 60 winning cities have budgeted Rs 5,468 crore on smart solutions.
However, of the 60 Smart Cities, till now, only 28 cities have formed special purpose vehicles (SPVs) and appointed boards of directors to carry out their plans extensively. In terms of sector-wise preferences, the housing sector with an estimated spending of Rs 10,055 crore tops the chart followed by urban transport (Rs 7,272 crore), area development (Rs 6,890 crore), energy (Rs 4,360 crore), water supply (Rs 3,207 crore), IT connectivity (Rs 2,991 crore) and sewerage (Rs 2,356 crore).
On the spending front, a few cities have deployed massive funds for making their cities smart. Topping the chart is Indore with Rs 4,857 crore, followed by Jabalpur (Rs 4,311 crore), Pune (Rs 2,907 crore), Surat (2,597 crore) and Ahmedabad (Rs 1,976 crore). Although these spends look fascinating on paper, on-ground activities depict a different picture.
Of the 731 projects, cities with SPVs in place have initiated only 384 projects. What's more, till now, feasibility reports for only 108 projects are in progress, of which 31 projects have completed feasibility reports. Interestingly, 22 detailed project reports have been completed, coupled with cities issuing 87 requests for qualification and singing 26 project contracts.
Considering the Smart City Mission will complete two years this June, the overall progress by the first 20 Smart Cities has not been not encouraging for others in the fray. Of the 642 projects, implementation on only 49 projects has started, and only 24 projects have witnessed completion status.
Greenfield Smart Cities
In India, where more than 30 cities have prepared their area-based and pan-city based development plans, an important element is clearly missing in their plans. It shows that the planning is for the short term, rather than the long term. Well-laid utilities, high-capacity transportation, green open spaces, ICT linkages for city administration and management and e-governance for citizen services are built at the planning stage in each of the cities. It is for the first time in the world that geographical and ICT planning has been integrated in building new cities.
A greenfield city in Gujarat (GIFT City in Gandhinagar) has managed to integrate its water, wastewater and India's only district cooling system. GIFT draws water from the main Narmada canal at the southern side of the city. Here, water will be pumped out from the existing intake point through a pipeline to meet GIFT City's requirements.
Importantly, says Ajay Pandey, MD and CEO, GIFT City, 'if any impediment occurs during this process, it gets resolved beforehand as the entire operations are managed through a SCADA system and monitored by a command and control centre.- (Refer to page no 41 for GIFT City details) Another greenfield project to look for is the entire Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). The project has planned eight Smart Cities for Phase I. Out of the eight Smart Cities, four of them - Dholera in Gujarat, AURIC in Maharashtra, Vikram-Udyogpuri in Madhya Pradesh and IITGNL in Uttar Pradesh - are in the implementation stage, with laying of roads and utilities still in progress.
Dholera, with a total footprint of over 920 sq km and a developable area of 540 sq km, is India's largest upcoming Green City with a target residential population of over two million and employment for 8,00,000 people by 2040. Phase-I of the project covers an activation area of 22.5 sq km. It is the first city where all utilities are being laid underground, including gas, power, ICT networks, potable water, recycled water, sewer pipes and storm water drains. It has all the capabilities to handle the future demands of the city.
Alkesh Sharma, CEO and MD of Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation Ltd (DMICDC), explains: 'They will have around 12 layers of trunk infrastructure below the ground, and everything above it will be integrated using smart, digital technology.'(Refer to page no 43 for details on Dholera)
Data plays the part
City data, a new currency for Smart Cities globally, is now helping Indian cities to break new ground in evidence-based decision making, open government and city-to-city learning.
Realising the value of data, some cities in India have actively taken up the agenda of striving towards 'Data-Driven Governance' (DDG), to inform, impact and improve policymaking, with a view to facilitate holistic development of the nation. At present, three cities - Pune, Surat and Jamshedpur - have implemented DDG in association with the Tata Trust and the World Council on City Data (WCCD).
What have these cities done? By implementing the DDG programme, these cities have implemented a pilot project by micro-targeting interventions using the data from mobile-based real-time data surveys, creating a model convergence of government schemes. They have further improved last-mile linkage of individuals to schemes, thereby empowering communities.
Meanwhile, a pilot project on DDG implemented by the three cities had some surprise element in it. In case of Pune, the WCCD data indicated that the city has one of the highest numbers of new patents per one lakh population per year at 10.77 as compared with other cities such as Buenos Aires (8.9) and London (3.14). Registered patents are an important element of innovation in a city.
Also, the data indicated that Pune has built up its urban green spaces with 1,376 trees planted per one lakh population annually, which is nearly or more than double of cities such as London (527) and Los Angeles (772). In addition, the city has an exceptional solid waste recycling system with 56.16 per cent of the city's solid waste being recycled, while London is at 30.56 per cent and Amsterdam at 27 per cent.
Another surprise element is the decrease in the number of crimes. The WCCD ISO 37120 data indicates that Pune has relatively low number of crimes against property with 148.11 crimes being committed per one lakh as compared to other cities such as Dubai with 367.54 crimes.
As far as education is concerned, Pune is at 74.59 per cent in educational attainment rate. The secondary education level in Pune fared relatively higher as compared to cities like Boston (72.2 per cent) and Helsinki (72.2 per cent).
Commenting on this, Kunal Kumar, Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation, says, 'The city is and will always be the frontrunner when it comes to DDG. We have been always a data-driven city, which has helped us to manage and plan better than our peers.'
Apart from Pune, Two cities - Surat and Jamshedpur - are following the principle of inclusiveness. Globally, women continue to be under-represented in government, and increasing women's participation in government displays a commitment towards moving towards gender parity.
The World Council on City Data (WCCD) ISO 37120 indicates that 50 per cent of Surat's officials elected to city-level offices are women. In fact, this is even higher than London with 30.77 per cent and Johannesburg with 38.5 per cent.
Jamshedpur scores high in education. Data indicates that Jamshedpur achieves a high level of female student enrollment of 99.3 per cent, which is greater than Bogota (98.7 per cent), Amsterdam (98 per cent) and Buenos Aires (96.8 per cent).
Access to continuous electrical services without interruptions is essential in ensuring reliability of a city's electric utility services. According to WCCD data, Surat has an average of 0.03 electrical interruptions per consumer per year, which demonstrates the city's capability to provide reliable electrical services to its citizens. In fact, this is much lower than London with 0.19 electrical interruptions and Dubai with 0.14.
Jamshedpur has a reputation for providing high-quality, reliable infrastructure services. The city provides close to complete provision of authorised electrical services with 99.2 per cent coverage. This electrical service is also reliable with an average of 1.8 service interruptions per year. The city's water infrastructure is also reliable, with only 0.04 average annual hours of water service interruptions per household.
The data indicates that the percentage of water losses from the water system (13.2 per cent) is very low considering the standards of Indian cities. In fact, Indian cities have lower losses than Boston (14.2 per cent) and Taipei (16.7 per cent). That apart, Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (JUSCO), the service provider for the city, is planning to invest in a new wastewater system that will achieve 100 per cent reuse of the water for horticulture and industrial use, a first in India.
In a quest to become smart, every municipal authority in its Smart City plans has envisaged certain smart elements making sure that the citizens, in return, will receive a better coordinated service. To begin with, Gandhinagar has now become the first city in the country to go smart. Setting an example for other cities, the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation (GMC) has equipped the entire city with Wi-Fi (open to sky), IP surveillance, smart street lighting, environment sensors, digital display, speed and face detection system, automatic number plate recognition system, public address system, smart call centre and a centralised command centre to monitor and control all activities.
Hetal Shah, VP & Head - Smart City Project (Gandhinagar), Sterlite Technologies, says, 'The city will be offering open-to-air Wi-Fi services free for the first 30 minutes, after which the services will be charged at a nominal rate, which is yet to be finalised by GMC.'
To ensure that citizens get quick, quality Wi-Fi services at a reasonable price, about 750 Wi-Fi access points have been installed across the city, covering 75 per cent of the total area. According to LK Pathak, VP - Marketing & Corporate Communications, Sterlite Technologies, 'Out of the total population of around 2.30 lakh, around 1.30 lakh have already registered and about 400-500 new users are registering on a daily basis.'
According to Shah, 'The total cost incurred towards this project was Rs 22 crore, in which Rs 11-12 crore has been for capex and the remaining is for opex.'As far as the RoI is concerned, Sterlite will recover its revenue from two streams, mainly through paid Wi-Fi, post free Internet time and the commercial use of digital signage boards. 'We are expecting revenue generation to the tune of Rs 1 crore per year, and together with GMC, it will be around Rs 2 crore.'
In Phase-1, digital signage has been installed across five locations in the city. GMC will give information related to government programmes and other important information. Over and above this, citizens are also given information related to environmental forecasts.
Also, the corporation has put 1,000 street lights in place. With the deployment of smart lighting, it will be able to dim or brighten the light intensity automatically, based on traffic conditions. Due to smart street lighting, there will be a 30 per cent saving in electricity costs.
One of Asia's largest municipal bodies, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), has a major task at hand to improve the city's infrastructure. The civic body handles a huge budget at the city level, with property tax being a major source of revenue. Therefore, MCGM has always faced a few problems while collecting property tax.
However, MCGM is all set to improve its revenue collection with its property mapping project. In consortium with Innowave IT infrastructures and Genesys International Corporation Ltd, MCGM has started implementation of its Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) project, making Mumbai the first city in India with state-of-the-art property mapping. MCGM will leverage the mapping technology strengths of Genesys in this regard.
This is a first-of-its-kind project which will create a unique platform for property tax administration and other Smart City-related applications. The total cost of the project is Rs 65 crore. Meanwhile, the project also envisages examining road surveys, mapping street furniture, hoardings and mobile telecom towers.
LiDAR, an active remote sensing technique, is similar to radar, but uses light pulses instead of radio waves. LiDAR, being an active remote 360-degree sensing system, utilises a laser beam as the sensing carrier.
'By implementing this technology (LiDAR), we have received accurate measurement from one point to another with the help of sensors, creating almost one million points per second,' says Om Hemrajani, Principal, Genesys International Corporation.
He adds, 'We have created the whole Mumbai city on a 3D platform by objectively collecting data from mapping, point cloud and 360-degree photographs of the city.' By doing this, the company has captured all the assets, properties, infrastructure, etc., which come under the purview of MCGM.
Apart from Mumbai and Gandhinagar, Jaipur too has deployed some smart measures to save the exchequer's money. Here, the Jaipur Municipal Corporation has started monitoring streetlights based on Internet of Things (IoT) and is developed by Precimetrix, for Samudra LED - a manufacturer of efficient and environment-friendly smart LED solutions. At the core of this solution is Microsoft's Azure cloud. The dedicated Web solution by Microsoft's Azure is helping and managing the city's 1,00,000 smart LEDs. Each and every LED streetlight in the city can be controlled via the dedicated website.
Meanwhile, the automated system is also capable of passively monitoring the network of streetlights in real time and can track the power consumption and status of every individual streetlight within the network. This real-time stream of data is pushed to Microsoft's Azure cloud for analysis, and can help the city track its monetary savings. The systems engineer can even get real-time notifications via email or SMS if the power consumption reaches a certain threshold.
GIFT integrates water and waste management
The vision for water infrastructure is to provide potable quality water (24x7) in all taps in the city. The water supply system is planned to provide water on demand. And since GIFT aims to become "water neutral", the water from the canal, stored along with the buffer stock in the reservoir (called Samruddhi Sarovar) will be conveyed to the water treatment plant for treatment and further distribution.
Now, since the entire operation is integrated, the city has got decentralised sewage treatment plants which are interconnected. Here, the wastewater system will consist of collection, treatment, and reuse of wastewater for GIFT's requirements. The wastewater is collected and conveyed to the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). The treated water will be used for flushing, landscaping and for a district cooling plant, enabling GIFT to become a 'Zero Discharge Zone'.
GIFT City is the only city in India which has implemented a cooling system at a level where not a single building in the city needs to be equipped with individual air conditioning. The district cooling system is 20 per cent more cost-efficient, mainly due to less occupancy of space, and the absence of noise pollution and vibration. Besides, for district cooling system operations, it draws water from the STP, making it an environment-friendly process.
The city has decided to make the entire area free from human intervention, especially for the collection of waste and its management. GIFT has India's first fully integrated automatic waste collection plant (AWS). Envac's automated waste collection system and recyclable segregation plant has been in operation since April 1, 2015.
Each building is equipped with two Envac chutes, which are fed into one of seven onsite collection stations, covering organic waste and mixed recyclables. Here, the Envac chutes are equipped with sensors which suck the garbage at a speed of 90 km/h and then get segregated into two parts: waste for recycling and the rest for bio-processing.
It is expected upon completion that the AWS will handle the waste of the entire district, which is expected to be over 400 tonnes per day, generated from GIFT City's 25,000 apartments, 100,000 residents and a working population of over 500,000. The site's retail zone will also attract between 25,000-50,000 visitors each week.
Envisaging planned, future-ready cities (after DMIC's example)
At the heart of the Smart City concept is the ICT infrastructure, which in the case of Dholera will be based at a City Integration Operation Centre (CIOC). The CIOC will synchronise all functions, including traffic management, safety and security, emergency response, utility services, telecommunications and civic administration. Dholera's plan incorporates such features as efficient mobility planning; 100 per cent treatment and reuse of wastewater; 100 per cent collection of solid waste with no public dumping of waste; storm water management and rainwater harvesting.
In contrast to Dholera, which has a large parcel of land, the Integrated Industrial Township in Greater Noida is a relatively smaller project, covering about 302.63 hectares. It targets direct employment for around 58,000 people and has earmarked 10 per cent of the project to residential and around 15 per cent to open spaces.
Due to land limitations, IITGNL is targeting a more vertical growth and its housing infrastructure will be in accordance with those requirements. Like other Smart Cities in DMIC, IITGNL too will have state-of-the-art residential amenities with 24x7 water distribution system, urban design accommodating public transport routes, street network planning, and solid waste management system with a goal of zero discharge, SCADA for remote monitoring and control, and ICT in the form of command & control centres. Housing and civic infrastructure is similarly benchmarked to the highest standards in Aurangabad Industrial Township and Vikram Udyogpuri and other cities in various stages of planning.
DMIC Smart Cities will serve as models of long-term planning for housing and other infrastructure. Our cities of the future must not face the same problems as our current ones.
- RAHUL KAMAT