An analysis of the selection criteria suggests that most points are in Gurgaon’s favour. Since revenue generation, past performance and self- financing capability are some of the selection criteria, Gurgaon may gain points over other cities from the state.
According to an urban planner, a strong vision statement needs to be framed along with emphasis on public participation and engagement programmes. The city’s financial audit also needs to be in shape for better scores.
“The Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) is diligently collecting property tax and the hundreds of corporate firms here add to the revenue collection from Gurgaon. The city is still growing and has a great chance to figure in the list of smart cities,” Dr Kulwant Singh, regional advisor (Asia region), UN Habitat, said.
The evaluation criteria also include performance in JNNURM. Since Gurgaon was not part of it and Faridabad did not perform very well, it could be a blessing in disguise for Gurgaon.
Also, bus transport is an important criterion in developing smart cities. This fits well with Gurgaon’s current plans and the overall timing is apt for Gurgaon.
Singh added that institutional structures need to be strengthened and infrastructure — such as water and power supply — needs improvement. He also said Gurgaon has a strong network of active citizens who participate in governance and all these make Gurgaon a top choice.
According to Sudhir Krishna, chairman of BIS committee on standards for smart cities, Gurgaon and Faridabad have the basic framework needed to develop smart cities and can provide quality employment.
He said Gurgaon has an approved master plan, partially smart buildings and is already an IT hub. These factors better Gurgaon’s chances.
“I recommend that Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Delhi be developed as smart cities. This would bring more return on investment and expedite economic growth,” Krishna, who is also former Secretary of MoUD, said.
He added that the weaknesses of Gurgaon are multiplicity of authorities and a weak municipal corporation. This is unlike some cities of Gujarat and Maharashtra where the municipal bodies have been empowered to plan and execute civic infrastructural projects.
“Gurgaon is one of the most prepared to be a smart city as we have smart people. The residents, active groups and thousands of corporate firms are ready to provide smart urban design solutions,” TL Satyaprakash, deputy commissioner of Gurgaon district, said.