CAG hosted a panel discussion to discuss various dangers that policies such as Smart Cities and other ICT initiatives are fraught with. Satyarupa Shekhar writes about discussions on issues of social injustice, privacy, digital divides and lack of institutional capacity in the context of the smart cities agenda and their implications for citizenship.
During the past decade and half India has been witnessing measures to reform the water sector based on the financial sustainability model put forward by the international institutions based on principles like full cost recovery, rationalisation of water tariffs, privatisation and public private partnerships across urban, rural as well as agricultural sub-sectors. The move is towards privatisation, commercialisation and commodification of water sector.
The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be created by each city to implement the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) at the city level. The SPV will be in charge of planning, appraising, approving, releasing funds, implementing, managing, operating, monitoring and evaluating the projects in their city. The States will ensure that there is a dedicated revenue stream for the SPV and the SPV should evolve its own credit-worthiness for raising additional resources from the market.
In 2015,the Modi government announced that 100 cities had been shortlisted to compete for funds under a new urban development initiative called the Smart Cities Mission. Since then, 20 cities, including Chennai, have won the first round of funds based on their proposals for smart projects in their city. The idea of a smart city is a global idea with no universally accepted definition.
As part of CAG's 30 year celebrations, we hosted a panel discussion on smart citizenship to discuss various dangers that policies such as Smart Cities and other information and communication technologies (ICT) initiatives are fraught with. Sometimes the benefits of collecting and making data open can be understood in different ways, or are conflicting or may even have undesired effects. Transparency, for instance, could mean both, the public availability of data or the ability of citizens to engage with the government in decision making processes.