The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has decided to extend the deadline for the Smart Cities Mission till June 2024, following requests from some cities that sought more time to complete their ongoing projects, officials said on Monday. The existing deadline of the Mission was June 2023.
An official said that it would be inequitable to grant an extension merely to “a selected subset of cities”.
“The extension is being granted not only to complete projects but to complete documentation, dissemination, institutionalisation of all best practices, templates, innovations created under the Mission so that they can be taken up for replication across the country,” the official told.
The Narendra Modi government launched its flagship Smart Cities Mission (SCM) on June 25, 2015 and 100 cities were selected for redevelopment through two-stage competition from January 2016 to June 2018.
The official said that on-ground project execution began at least 18 months post city selection.
“The Mission deadline was fixed as June 2023 to enable all cities to get five years for completing Mission activities. The current extension of one year from June 2023 to June 2024 is only the first extension beyond the five-year period,” the official said.
According to the ministry, the one-year extension will ensure 100 per cent works under the SCM get completed in all 100 smart cities. The budget allocated to the Mission in 2023-24 is sufficient for the purpose, the officials said.
“Considering the tremendous impact of the SCM on ease of living for citizens and ease of doing business for businesses, the ministry has decided to extend the Smart Cities Mission by one year, from its current deadline of June 2023 till June 2024,” the official said.
According to the officials, out of 100 cities, around 50 have completed close to 75 per cent of their projects and are on track to complete remaining works by June 2023.
Over 66 per cent projects in small cities, and over 80 per cent projects in the metros have been completed.
“This pace amounts to completion of an average of 100 projects worth around Rs 1,850 crore every month; three+ projects worth Rs 60+ crore every day, equivalent of completing around six kms of two-lane highways every day,” the official said, adding that in most cities, the amount of infrastructure spending as part of the Mission is much higher than their regular budgetary spends.
As many as 232 public-private partnership projects worth Rs 15,006 crore have been taken up across 53 smart cities – both small and big.
These projects are multi-sectoral and include infrastructure like multi-modal transport hubs, common mobility cards, multi-level car parking and public bike sharing.
“The Smart Cities Mission is thus creating templates to boost PPP investments in India’s urban sector going forward,” the official added.
The ministry said that the government has released around Rs 38,000 crore to 100 cities. Combining this with state and urban local bodies releases, the cumulative amount of funds released to cities stands at Rs 71,000 crore.
“The pace of Mission implementation can be gauged from the fact that around 90 per cent of these funds have been utilised. An amount of Rs 8,000 crore, budgeted in FY 2023-24, is sufficient to meet the needs of ongoing projects,” the official said.
India’s current urban population of around 46 crore is projected to double in the next 25 years.
According to the ministry, it is estimated that close to Rs 500 lakh crore of investments in India’s cities and towns will be needed to support this rapid urbanization, a multiplier of 166 times over 25 years (taking current annual urban investments of Rs 3 lakh crore).