The capitals of all North-eastern states — Agartala, Shillong, Aizawl, Imphal, Kohima, Itanagar and Gangtok — will be developed as smart cities under the government’s flagship programme.
The proposal to develop 100 smart cities, which was cleared by the cabinet last week, makes not only cities in the one to four million population range eligible to be developed as smart cities, but also capitals of smaller states which have less than one million people.
The criteria, urban development ministry (UD) officials said, would de-facto make the capital of all North-eastern states eligible. “Almost all capitals also happen to be the largest cities in their respective states,” said an official.
The population criteria will also make Delhi, Srinagar, Goa, Shimla, Dehradun, Puducherry, Ranchi, Kavaratti, Chandigarh, Silvassa and Port Blair eligible to be developed.
Though these cities will be eligible to get selected in stage one, they will also have to qualify the ‘city challenge competition’ to make it to the final list.
If they do not qualify the first time, they can reappear after making the necessary improvements in their proposals related to city development. “The Centre will provide the necessary hand holding so that their proposals make the cut,” said a source.
It is, however, the bigger states that stand to gain the most. According to the formula worked out by the UD ministry, the more populous a state is, the maximum number of smart cities it will get. The formula gives a 50:50 weightage to a state’s population and the number of statutory towns it has.
This will benefit bigger states such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat and West Bengal. However, of the eligible cities, only those that qualify in the competition will finally get selected.
The Centre will give Rs 48,000 crore for five years for the programme. Each city will get Rs 100 crore per year. A matching fund of Rs 48,000 crore will have to be contributed by states from their internal resources/ market borrowing and through private sector participation. An earlier concept note prepared by the UD ministry had envisaged investment requirement to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore annually.