Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] Ease of Living Index and Municipal Performance Index 2019DOMR


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ease of Living Index and Municipal Performance Index

Mains level : Urban development

The surveys to determine the Ease of Living Index (EoLI) and Municipal Performance Index (MPI) 2019 has been initiated by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs. Both these indices are designed to assess the quality of life of citizens in 100 Smart Cities and 14 other Million Plus Cities.

Municipal Performance Index

  • With the MPI 2019, the Ministry has sought to assess the performance of municipalities based on five enablers namely Service, Finance, Planning, Technology and Governance.
  • These have been further divided into 20 sectors which will be evaluated across 100 indicators.
  • This will help Municipalities in better planning and management, filling the gaps in city administration, and improving the liveability of cities for its citizens.

Ease of Living Index

  • EOLI is aimed at providing a holistic view of Indian cities – beginning from the services provided by local bodies, the effectiveness of the administration, the outcomes generated through these services in terms of the liveability within cities and, finally, the citizen perception of these outcomes.
  • The key objectives of the EOL Index are four-folds, viz.
  1. Generate information to guide evidence-based policy making;
  2. Catalyse action to achieve broader developmental outcomes including the SDG;
  3. Assess and compare the outcomes achieved from various urban policies and schemes; and
  4. Obtain the perception of citizens about their view of the services provided by the city administration.
  • For the first time, as part of the EOLI Assessment, a Citizen Perception Survey is being conducted on behalf of the Ministry (which carries 30% of the marks of the Ease of Living Index).
  • This is a very important component of the assessment exercise as it will help in directly capturing perception of citizens with respect to quality of life in their cities.
  • This survey, which is being administered both online and offline, has commenced from 1st February 2020 and will continue till 29th February 2020.
  • The offline version involving face-to-face interviews will commence on the 1st of February and will run parallel to the on-line versions.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Fastest growing cities in IndiaPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various keywords mentioned

Mains level : Urbanization in India

 The Economist has put Malappuram at the top of the “Top ten fastest-growing cities” in the world.

Anomalies in the data

  • The total fertility rate (TFR, the number of children a woman is likely to have in the childbearing age of 15-49) in Kerala is 1.8 as per NITI Aayog data from 2016 — below the replacement rate of 2.1.
  • Another Kerala city, Thrissur, is No. 13, and the capital Thiruvananthapuram is No. 33 on the UN list.
  • Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu — which has an even lower TFR of 1.6 — is No. 30.
  • Surat in Gujarat (TFR of 2.2) is No. 27. There is no representation on the list from high population growth states like Bihar and UP.

What does “fastest growing” refer to? How is a “city” defined?

  • The list based on data from the UN Population Division refers to “urban agglomerations” (UA), which are extended areas built around an existing town along with its outgrowths — typically villages or other residential areas or universities, ports, etc., on the outskirts of the town.
  • The Census defines a UA as “a continuous urban spread consisting of a town and its adjoining urban outgrowths or two or more physically contiguous towns together”.
  • The NCT of Delhi is a UA that includes the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) areas, as well as 107 “Census towns” — erstwhile surrounding villages where more than 75% of the population is now engaged in non-agricultural pursuits.

A pace of urbanization

  • The Economist has listed the rate at which the populations of the UAs are expected to increase between 2015 and 2020.
  • Since data on India and many other countries were not available for 2015 (the last Census in India was in 2011), the UN report used projections of UAs’ populations — estimates based on past population growth data.
  • The rate of growth between 2015 and 2020 thus calculated provides a measure of the pace of urbanisation.

How does urban population grow?

  • Urban populations can grow when the birth rate exceeds the death rate when workers migrate to the city in search of jobs; when more areas get included within the boundaries of the city; or when existing rural areas are reclassified as urban.
  • The low fertility rate in Kerala means the increase in the population of Malappuram and other cities is not because women are having more children; rather it is because more villages are being transformed into towns, and city borders are expanding.
  • According to the Census definition, an urban area is either a census town (CT) or a statutory town (ST). An ST is any place with a municipal corporation, municipal council, or cantonment board.
  • A CT can be a village with “urban characteristics” — a population more than 5,000, population density more than 400 people per sq km, and with more than 75% of the population not engaged in agriculture for their livelihood.
  • When a village becomes a CT, its population is included in the urban population of the district.

Could migration have caused the increase?

  • Migration can either increase or decrease the population of a town.
  • Kerala sees both emigration — migration from the state to other places — and immigration — the migration of workers to the state.
  • Also the remittances that emigrants send allow the residents of villages to move away from agriculture, which changes the status of a village to census town.

Why these cities are growing so fast?

  • These cities are seeing rapid urbanisation, and the main reason is the inclusion of new areas in the UA’s limits.
  • In 2001, there were two municipal corporations within the UA of Malappuram. In 2011, the number of municipal corporations had doubled to four, and an additional 37 CTs were included within Malappuram.
  • The population of the UA (excluding the residents of the outgrowths) increased almost 10 times in the same period — from 1,70,409 to 16,99,060 — obviously because of the inclusion of existing urban areas in the town.
  • Similarly, Kollam UA grew from one municipal corporation in 2001 to 23 CTs, one municipal corporation, and one municipal council in 2011.
  • Its population increased by 130%, even though the population of the original ST of Kollam actually decreased by 4%.

Why is this not seen elsewhere in India?

  • In Kerala, urbanisation is driven by a move away from agriculture, which leads to a change in a village’s Census classification status.
  • This is evident from the large number of CTs that were included in the UAs of the state since the last Census. On the other hand, except Delhi, the more populous cities in the North had fewer CTs in 2011.
  • While the pace of urbanisation has been slower in the North, some unnaturally high increases in the population can be expected after the 2021 Census — because in some cases, villages on the peripheries were brought within the administrative boundaries of the cities.

Is it good for the economy?

  • Urbanisation leads to the growth of cities, which are sites of infrastructure like universities, hospitals, and public transport facilities.
  • There are more opportunities for the youth, which is why they attract young people and entrepreneurs.
  • In India, people moving to cities leave behind (to some extent) caste and class divisions that dominate life in the villages, and can hope to climb up the social ladder.
  • However, unplanned urbanisation can be “exclusionary”, making it difficult for migrants to live there given the high cost.
  • Unregulated housing, lack of reliable public transport, and longer commutes within these towns puts a strain on the meagre resources of migrants.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

JAGA MissionGovt. SchemesStates in News


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : JAGA mission

Mains level : Problems of Slum Dwellers

World Habitat Mission has recognised the Odisha state government’s Jaga Mission that uses drones to survey slums. The Odisha government has become the first in the country to bag this award.

Jaga (Land) Mission

  • Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission “JAGA” is a society under Housing & Urban Development Department, Government of Odisha, headed by the Chief Secretary, Odisha as Chairman.
  • “JAGA” aims at transforming the slums into liveable habitat with all necessary civic infrastructure and services at par with the better off areas within the same urban local body (ULB).
  • It would work continuously to improve the standard of the infrastructure and services and access to livelihood opportunities.
  • It is the world’s largest slum land title project.
  • It involves the government surveying and awarding slum dwellers a legal land title.

Why land rights for slums matter

  • More often than not, slums are seen as encroachments and slum dwellers, even if they stay in slums for decades, are not provided with any legal rights over the land.
  • This illegality further condemns slums — which are an urban reality in Indian cities — to unsanitary conditions. Formal recognition of land rights allows for cleaner cities and better living conditions for slum dwellers.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)PIB


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CCN, Gastronomy

Mains level : Not Much

  • UNESCO has designated Mumbai as a member of UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in the field of FILM and Hyderabad in the field of GASTRONOMY.

About UCCN

  • UCCN created in 2004, is a network of cities which are thriving, active centres of cultural activities in their respective countries.
  • UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was established in the year 2004.
  • It creates a network of those cities that are active centres of various cultural practices in their respective countries.
  • At present UCCN has 246 member cities including Mumbai and Hyderabad.
  • These cities can be from all continents with different income levels or with different level of populations.
  • UCCN believes that these cities are working towards a common mission and that is to placing creativity at the core of their urban development plans to make region resilient, safe, inclusive and sustainable.
  • Ministry of Culture is the nodal Ministry of Government of India for all matters in UNESCO relating to culture.

Objective of UCCN

  • They work together towards a common mission: placing creativity and the creative economy at the core of their urban development plans to make cities safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable, in line with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The 7 categories for recognition under UCCN are as follows-

  • Crafts and Folk Arts
  • Design
  • Film
  • Gastronomy
  • Music
  • Media Arts
  • Literature

 Previously, 3 Indian cities were recognized as members of UCCN namely-

  • Jaipur-Crafts and Folk Arts (2015)
  • Varanasi-Creative city of Music (2015)
  • Chennai-Creative city of Music(2017)

Note: Gastronomy is the study of the relationship between food and culture, the art of preparing and serving rich or delicate and appetizing food, the cooking styles of particular regions, and the science of good eating.

Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

World Urbanization Prospects DataIOCR


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Developing Asia group

Mains level : Urbanization in India

  • The economic outlook update released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) highlighted that the number of urban inhabitants in ‘Developing Asia’ has increased “almost five-fold since 1970”.

Developing Asia

  • It refers to a group of 45 countries that are members of the ADB.

World Urbanisation Prospects data

  • The report, tracking World Urbanisation Prospects data, states that the two-thirds of the nearly 1.5 billion additional city dwellers in the region belonged from India and China.
  • As such, between 1970 to 2017, the urban population in this bunch of countries grew from 375 million to 1.84 billion.
  • The region led the global increase in the urban population in this period and accounted for 53 per cent of it.

Low pace of urbanization

  • The ADB reports states that, notwithstanding the fast growth in urban population, “developing Asia’s urbanisation rate still lagged at 46% in 2017”.
  • Urbanisation rate means the percentage of the population living in urban areas.
  • The US achieved the 46 per cent urbanisation mark over a century ago while Japan reached there in the early 1950s. But the US and Japan are far cries at the moment.
  • Developing Asia’s urbanisation rate in 2017 was lower than the average in other developing economies (which stood at 58 per cent) and the average in the developed economies (which stood at 81 per cent).
  • India, specifically, has 34 per cent of its population living in urban areas.

Reason: Population rise

  • Developing Asia urbanized faster than the rest of the world not only in terms of absolute growth, but also in terms of growth rate.
  • Urban population in this region increased at an average of 3.4 per cent per annum between 1970-2017.
  • This is much faster than the 2.6 per cent in the rest of the developing world – mainly Africa and Latin America – and 1.0 per cent in the developed world.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX)Priority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX)

Mains level : Smart Cities Mission

  • Starting with an open data platform for the 100 cities of the Smart Cities Mission by 2020, the government is planning to make a wide range of data — from health, education to finances, public by 2024.

India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX)

  • IUDX is a research project under smart cities mission being implemented by Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) in collaboration with Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.
  • The India Urban Data Exchange set up by the MoHUA for its Smart Cities would be expanded, eventually leading to a “marketplace”.
  • IUDX will be an open source software platform for cities, industry and researchers to share Smart City data with each other that could be monetised in the future, similar to the UPI for bank accounts and digital payments.

Facilities provided

  • MoHUA said that the open data platform for the 100 cities would be expanded to cover 500 cities by 2022 and all urban centres in the country by 2024.
  • It will facilitate secure, authenticated and managed exchange of data amongst various data platforms, third-party authenticated and authorized applications and other data sources, data producers and consumers, both within a city to begin with and scaled up across cities eventually at a national level, in a uniform and seamless way.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access (PAiSA)PIB


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SKOCH Award, PAiSA Portal, DAY NULM

Mains level : Impact of DAY-NULM

  • Deendayan Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM), a flagship mission under the MoHUA has been conferred the prestigious SKOCH Governance Gold Award for its PAiSA portal.

About PAiSA Portal

  • PAiSA stands for Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access.
  • Launched in November 2018, PAiSA is a centralized IT platform which simplifies and streamlines release of interest subvention under the DAY-NULM.
  • It has been designed and developed through the Allahabad Bank.

What it offers?

  • It offers end to end online solution for processing, payment, monitoring and tracking of interest subvention claims from banks on a monthly basis.
  • Claims for subvention are uploaded by banks through their CBS (Core Banking Solution) in respect of the beneficiaries of the Self Employment Programme, which are verified and approved by the ULB and State concerned.
  • The approved claim amount gets credited directly to the beneficiary’s loan account through DBT mode.
  • SMS is also sent to the beneficiary’s mobile number intimating the credit of subvention amount.

About SKOCH Award

  • SKOCH Award, instituted in 2003, is the highest civilian honour in the country conferred by an independent organisation.
  • It recognizes people, projects and institutions that go the extra mile to make India a better nation.
  • SKOCH Award covers the best of efforts in the area of digital, financial and social inclusion.


Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana

Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] Urban spaces need better designed homes and an egalitarian housing policyop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Urban Housing; Urbanisation


Homelessness is on the rise and has been for the past half a century. Eight years ago, after the 2011 Census, the demand for new housing was at 25 lakh units. With demand rising exponentially and increasing migration numbers, the current requirement for shelter stands at 30 lakh units.

Challenges in providing housing

  • Ineffective programs 
      • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana aims to provide cheaper houses quickly to low-income groups, with substantial interest subsidies on housing loans. The previous scheme, Awas Yojna, has been attempting the same since 1985 without much success. 
      • State housing boards have similar unachievable goals.
      • Every year, more houses are constructed; yet, every year the demand increases.
  • Idea of ownership
    • In the early 1950s, new houses in most cities relied on the bungalow model. The home’s ownership, independence, and property rights were paramount.
    • 70 years later, despite a 100-fold increase in city population density and land values, little has changed from that ideal.
    • The provision of shelter is still wracked by the archaic ideal of ownership and still stuck to the impracticality of old space and design ideas.
  • The unwillingness of a homeowner to rent out when the legal rights grossly favour tenants. 

Four factors need to be evaluated in the search for a new model

  1. put a halt to the growing privatization of the city – do away with more private ownership of land and buildings. The current situation creates unfortunate divides between private colonies, flats and government housing — contributing to insecurity and gated colonies
    1. Isolating quality of the Indian city has been reinforced by divisions of profession, ethnicity and economic status
    2. Cities with officially recognized subdivisions — Bengalis in their own enclave (Chittaranjan Park), lawyers in Niti Bagh, Jews in Jewtown and Parsis in Parsi Colony
    3. By discouraging homeownership, the city becomes more open and accessible to a greater number of new residents
  2. Stringent urban land reforms would be the first step in that direction
  3. Making housing part of city infrastructure projects, the government takes away land and construction from private builders and creates diverse pockets of housing in different parts of the city.
  4. Ensuring citizens have easy access to subsidized rental housing without legal rights of ownership. Rental units would allow residents to live close to the office and employment, keeping the neighborhood changing and dynamic.
  5. It is imperative that a system of tax incentives and new rental regulations be used to achieve that goal
  6. The imposition of a high un-occupancy tax on buildings that are vacant will help to inhabit almost a third of private housing that remains empty in most cities. 
  7. Stricter construction restrictions are put in place; the government should see housing as a social service and not a business venture
  8. Expanding the supply of low-income housing
  9. Current densities of residential space need more efficient modifications – smaller multifunctional and compact unit makes more sense. Given the high land values, unless there is an increase in floor area ratio (FAR) and a decrease in a home’s occupancy footprint, economies of scale will never be achieved in city residential areas
  10. Subsidies on efficient space planning, environmental considerations, and design that create shared community spaces should be encouraged and rewarded.
  11. Civic governance structures need to be separate from politics. 
    1. Brazil’s intervention in its Favelas or slum tenements upgraded individual houses after a rigorous survey of families, providing design improvements, ventilation, storage space and utilities where needed. 
    2. Singapore replaced their poorer tenements altogether with a basic high rise of low-cost low-income housing integrated into the fabric of the city. 


Housing in India is both inefficient, poorly constructed, thoughtlessly designed, and conforms to outmoded ideas that still hark to the bungalow prototype. Unless more thoughtfully-designed homes, with newer materials and technologies, and a more egalitarian housing policy become part of future government programs, it is these citadels of waste and decay that will remain the public face of the city.

Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] Ecological perils of discounting the futureMains Onlyop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Managing urban water bodies


  • In a report last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) called the Chennai floods of 2015 a “man made disaster”, a pointer to how the encroachment of lakes and river floodplains has driven India’s sixth largest city to this ineluctable situation.
  • The Chennai floods are a symbol of consistent human failings and poor urban design which are common to most urban centres in India if not urban centres across the world. Now, Chennai is in the midst of another crisis — one of water scarcity.

Urban Situation

  • Unlike issues such as traffic congestion or crime which are visible, environmental degradation is not what most people can easily see or feel in their every day lives.
  • Therefore, when the consequences of such degradation begin to wreak havoc, it becomes difficult to draw the correlation between nature’s vengeance with human failings.
  • In Chennai, more than 30 waterbodies of significance have disappeared in the past century.
  • Concretisation or the increase in paved surfaces has affected the percolation of rainwater into the soil, thereby depleting groundwater levels to a point of no return.

Urbanisation without vision

  • Chennai, however, is not alone in terms of suffering from the consequences of human folly.
  • Urbanisation at the cost of reclaiming water bodies is a pan-India if not worldwide phenomenon.
  • There are examples in cities such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad and even Mexico city.
  • In Bengaluru, 15 lakes have lost their ecological character in less than five years according to a High Court notice to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the city’s administrative body responsible for civic amenities and some infrastructural assets.
  • The lakes, which are now encroached areas, find use as a bus stand, a stadium and, quite ironically, as an office of the Pollution Control Board.
  • In Mexico city, what was once a network of lakes built by the Aztecs in the 11th and 12th centuries, has given way to a downtown city centre.
  • Parts of the city, especially downtown, sink a few metres every year causing immense damage to buildings.
  • Mismanaged urbanisation and encroachments: Chennai continues to lose out on its water resources


    Case study of Telangana

  • In Telangana, the byzantine network of tanks and lakes built by the Kakatiya dynasty has disappeared over the years.
  • However, the question is not about what follies were committed in the past, but about what we can do in the present and, more importantly, for the future.
  • In Telangana, “tanks have been the lifeline of the State because of its geographical positioning”.
  • The State’s “topography and rainfall pattern have made tank irrigation an ideal type of irrigation by storing and regulating water flow for agricultural use”.
  • The Telangana example of water rejuvenation
  • The Chief Minister of Telangana launched a massive rejuvenation movement in form of “Mission Kakatiya” which involves the restoration of irrigation tanks and lakes/minor irrigation sources built by the Kakatiya dynasty.
  • From the perspective of inter-generational justice, this is a move towards giving future generations in the State their rightful share of water and, therefore, a life of dignity.
  • The city of Hyderabad is now moving towards a sustainable hydraulic model with some of the best minds in the country working on it.
  • This model integrates six sources of water in a way that even the most underdeveloped areas of the city can have equitable access to water resources and the groundwater levels restored in order to avoid a calamity of the kind that has gripped Chennai now.


International Examples

  • When Mexico city can create a new executive position of a “resilience officer” to save its sinking urban sprawls, Bengaluru can reclaim Kundalahalli lake (once a landfill) through corporate social responsibility funds in a Public Private Partnership model, and Hyderabad and the larger state of Telangana rebuild its resilience through a combination of political will and well-designed policies such as the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme and Mission, what stops us from learning from each other?
  • Why should other urban centres shy away from adopting, remodelling and implementing some of the best water management practices to avoid disaster?
  • The answer perhaps lies in the tendency of policymakers to discount the future and of their obsession of focussing on the here and now.



  • It is estimated that in just 30 years from now, half of India will be living in cities.
  • If we truly envision a great future for this country, how can we possibly risk the lives of half of our people and the next generations who could be facing a life in cities parched by drought, stranded by floods, mortified by earthquakes or torn by wars over fresh water?
  • What has happened in Chennai now or what happened in Kerala last year in the form of floods are not a case of setting alarm bells ringing, but one of explosions.
  • If we do not wake up now, we have to be prepared to face the consequences of nature wreaking great havoc on humanity.
  • We would not need nuclear bombs for our obliteration.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Ahmedabad-Kobe Sister City PartnershipStates in News


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sister City

Mains level : India-Japan bilateral relations

  • Authorities from the Japanese city of Kobe exchanged a Letter of Intent (LoI) with their counterparts in Ahmedabad for a sister city partnership.
  • This will pave the way for an enhanced economic relationship between the two vibrant cities as well as the two countries.

Why such LoI?

  • The LoI was exchanged in the presence of PM Modi, who visited Kobe to address a large Indian diaspora event.
  • In November 2016, Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe inked a sister-state relationship MoU for Gujarat and Hyogo prefecture.
  • Kobe is the capital city of Hyogo. That time, PM had also visited a bullet train plant in Kobe.
  • The MoU sought to promote mutual cooperation between Gujarat and Hyogo in the fields of academics, business, cultural cooperation, disaster management and environmental protection.

Sister Cities

  • Sister cities are a form of legal or social agreement between towns, cities, counties, oblasts, prefectures, provinces, regions, states, and even countries in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.
  • They are mostly affectionately named agreements between certain towns, cities, provinces or in some cases, countries all across the globe.
  • In each case the towns have come to an agreement or partnership, some of which are legally binding, where others are purely symbolic and social.
  • It’s here that the beauty and charm of the sister city is found: the voluntary forging of ties to encourage cultural understanding, friendship and exchange, as well as more practical applications, like trade agreements and business partnerships.

The City Diplomacy

  • In recent years, the term “city diplomacy” has gained increased usage and acceptance, particularly as a strand of paradiplomacy and public diplomacy.
  • The importance of cities developing their own foreign economic policies on trade, foreign investment, tourism and attracting foreign talent” has also been highlighted by the World Economic Forum.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] Unleashing the potential of urban IndiaMains Onlyop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : UK's City deals models may guide reform in metropolitan governance structure.


India could learn from the U.K.’s model of City Deals


The Global Metro Monitor 2018 reports that 36% of employment growth and 67% of GDP growth were contributed by the 300 largest global metros, with those in emerging economies outperforming those in advanced economies.

The relevance of metropolitan cities

  • Metropolitan areas concentrate and accelerate wealth as these are agglomerations of scale that concentrate higher-level economic functions.
  • Nine Indian metros feature in the top 150 ranks of the economic performance index.
  • Clearly metropolises are going to be a key feature of India’s urbanisation and will play a crucial role in fuelling growth.

Constitutional provisions regarding metropolis

  • Article 243P(c) of the Constitution defines ‘metropolitan areas’ as those having “population of ten lakhs [a million] or more, comprised in one or more districts and consisting of two or more municipalities/panchayats/ other contiguous areas, specified by the governor through public notification to be a metropolitan area”.
  • It recognises metropolitan areas as multi-municipal and multi-district entities.
  • It mandates the formation of a Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) for preparing draft development plans, considering common interests between local authorities, objectives and priorities set by Central and State governments, and investments likely to be made in the area by various agencies.

Concerns with MPCs

  • Janaagraha’s Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) 2018 found that only nine out of 18 cities mandated to form MPCs have constituted them.
  • Where constituted, their functionality is questionable, with the limited role of local elected representatives raising further questions on democratic decentralisation.
  • Thus, the provision for an MPC has not introduced robust governance of metropolises, as the metropolises continue to be a collection of parastatals and local bodies in an entirely fragmented architecture.

City Deals’ model of UK

  • The U.K. has rolled out ‘City Deals’, an agreement between the Union government and a city economic region, modelled on a ‘competition policy style’ approach.
  • The city economic region is represented by a ‘combined authority’.
  • This is a statutory body set up through national legislation that enables a group of two or more councils to collaborate decisions, and which is steered by a directly elected Mayor.
  • This is to further democratise and incentivise local authorities to collaborate and reduce fragmented governance, drive economic prosperity, job growth, etc.
  • City Deals’ move from budget silos and promote ‘economic growth budget’ across regions.

Examples from other countries

The U.K. has established nine such combined authorities. Australia adopted a regional governance model along these lines in 2016 and has signed four City Deals till date. Meanwhile, China is envisioning 19 seamlessly connected super city clusters.

  • India, however, is yet to begin the discourse on a governance framework for the future of its metropolises.
  • It is yet to recognise that disaster management, mobility, housing, climate change, etc. transcend municipal boundaries and require regional-level solutions.
  • The World Bank notes that despite the emergence of smaller towns, the underlying character of India’s urbanisation is “metropolitan”, with towns emerging within the proximity of existing cities.

Way forward

  • It is time India envisions the opportunities and challenges from a ‘city’ level to ‘city-region’ level.
  • The Central government must create a platform to build consensus among State governments.
  • Perhaps, the Greater Bengaluru Governance Bill, 2018, drafted by the Expert Committee for Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Restructuring, could offer direction.
  • It proposes for a Greater Bengaluru Authority headed by a directly elected Mayor, responsible for the overall planning of Greater Bengaluru with powers for inter-agency coordination and administration of major infrastructural projects across the urban local bodies within the area.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] Cities at crossroads: Federalism for the cityMains Onlyop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Problems with urbanization and ways to improve it


It is time to reflect on what should be the priorities in fixing our cities. The scale of the challenge is massive whether we look at the availability of clean drinking water, unpolluted air, quality of public transport, traffic management and parking, integrated planning of transport and land use, law and order, management and safe disposal of solid waste that is generated, treatment of waste water and effluents, and affordable housing.

Importance of Cities

  • Rapid economic growth in any country is associated with a decline in the share of agriculture and an increase in the shares of manufacturing and services in its GDP, and this involves greater urbanisation.
  • Going forward, as we try to achieve rapid growth which is necessary to provide growing employment opportunities for our young work-force, we need to position our cities as drivers of the structural transformation of the Indian economy.
  • UN projections suggest that India’s urban population will increase from 461 million in 2018 to 877 million in 2050, with India contributing the largest share of global urban population growth from 2018 to 2050.
  • State governments have the principal responsibility for urban development. But in order to deliver, they can and should ensure that city governments are sufficiently empowered to get the job done.
  • This requires strengthening the finances of these governments, building their capacity to take on the new challenges that urbanisation brings, and providing an enabling environment through legislative and administrative support.

No  transformative action on devolution

  • The 74th Constitutional Amendment of 1992 gives the state governments the power to transfer a set of 18 legitimate municipal functions to the municipal governments and also devolve finances to them to enable them to perform these functions and organise the delivery of the public services.
  • Town planning — the golden goose — was not typically transferred.
  • Also, action on devolution of funds to urban local governments has been unpredictable and hopelessly inadequate.
  • The Government of India must work towards amending the Constitution to undo the injustice that has been meted out to local governments.


Past efforts in strengthening the foundation

  • In the past decade or so, the Centre has come to recognise that urbanisation is set to accelerate with India’s rapid growth.
  • First, the UPA government launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Rajiv Awas Yojana as centrally sponsored schemes.
  • The NDA government followed up with a number of their own urban development missions like Swachh Bharat, AMRUT, Smart Cities Mission, and Housing for All.

State’s Role

  • An important point to note is that the national missions could deliver only where the state governments were pro-active in bringing about the change.
  • Only a few state governments have been able to come forward to realise the potential offered by the national missions.
  • The missions played an additional role in igniting a competitive spirit among the state governments in the delivery of public services.

Way Forward

  • A simple solution would be for the Government of India to introduce an incentive grant system whereby states which devolve funds to some desired degree get to top up the financial grant from the Centre.
  • This should be limited to second-tier cities, which are crucial to a new urbanisation thrust.
  • Metropolitan cities need such grants much less, since states can help them raise resources by empowering them to unlock land value. They are also better placed to develop PPPs with viable revenue models to attract private funds.


Essentially, co-operative federalism needs to go deeper, below the state level. There are no shortcuts to improving the state of our cities. The state governments need to decentralise, devolve and empower the cities. We, as responsible citizens, need to engage with the government to find collective solutions while at the same time, holding the government accountable.

Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] Lapse and collapse: on Mumbai’s pedestrian bridge accidentop-ed snap


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems & remedies

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Accountability on Municipal authority’s part to create sustainable infrastructure.



The pedestrian bridge that collapsed at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, leaving six people dead and several injured, underscores the irony of India’s race to development on creaking urban infrastructure. Mumbai’s creaking public infrastructure must be urgently upgraded.

Loss of lives due to poor infrastructure

  • It was only in September 2017 that there was a stampede at Mumbai’s Elphinstone bridge that left at least 23 people dead, an incident that officials blamed on heavy rain and overcrowding on the rickety structure.
  • there is the chronic toll of eight people, on average, dying every day on the city’s railway tracks.
  • This is a dismal image for a metropolis that generates so much wealth, but cannot guarantee the safety of its public infrastructure.

Punitive Action Taken by municipal Authorities

  • In the first response to the CST incident, the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have launched action on the contractor who carried out repairs on the bridge five years ago.
  • the structural safety auditor who had certified the bridge to be in ‘good’ condition among a total of 39 bridges, and some civic body officials.
  • Such steps may serve to mollify public anger, and no one would argue against efforts to fix accountability for lapses.
  • However, far-reaching administrative reform is necessary to raise public confidence in the way government works.
  • It is extraordinary that the BMC is wiser after the fact, and has determined that the quality of repairs performed on the CST bridge was not ‘up to the mark,’ since it collapsed within six years.
  • It has also closed several busy footbridges, virtually confirming prolonged neglect of maintenance.

Way forward

  • In a city where eight million passenger trips are made daily on an overburdened railway system, besides other modes of transport, the highest policy priority should be to raise levels of safety.
  • In the wake of the bridge disaster, the municipal corporation must explain how much of its annual budget of ₹30,692 crore for the coming year will go towards improving facilities and safety for the majority of its citizens who ride trains and buses or walk.
  • Mumbaikars badly need a new deal in the form of a modernised bus system, with expansion of services that can be funded through a levy on private vehicles or on fuel.
  • The move to privatise BEST bus services may result in greater pressure on other systems, reducing access and adding to the stress faced by citizens.
  • Mumbai’s experience should serve as a warning to all fast-expanding Indian cities governed by municipal systems that have low capacity and capability to create people-friendly infrastructure.
  • Distortions in urban policymaking in recent years are all too evident, marked by support for loosely defined smart cities and personal vehicles, at the cost of basic interventions that will make the commons more accessible — roads, pavements, pedestrian facilities and public transport.
  • The safe mobility of people must be prioritised.


Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Migration in Bengal delta driven by livelihood issues, social factorsStates in News


Mains Paper 2: Indian Society | Population and associated issues

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the compact

Mains level: Problem of illegal migration


Population surge in Bengal

  • According to the 2011 national census, West Bengal is the fourth-most-populous state in India with a population of 91,347,736 (7.55% of India’s population).
  • As of 2011, West Bengal had a population density of 1,029 inhabitants per square km making it the second-most densely populated state in India, after Bihar

What pulls migrants towards Bengal?

  • Economic reasons are the precipitating factor for migration in the Indian Bengal Delta that comprises the Sunderbans reveals an international study.
  • The study is titled Deltas Vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECMA).
  • It points out that there is huge gender disparity when it comes to those migrating from the region.
  • The study reveals that 64% people migrate because of economic reasons, unsustainable agriculture, lack of economic opportunities and debt;
  • 28 % of the migration from the region is for social reasons and about 7% for environmental reasons like cyclones and flooding.

Highlights of the study

  • The DECMA report also finds that most migrants both in case of men and women are young, in the age group of 20-30 years.
  • When it comes to migration in the Indian Bengal Delta, the study finds a huge gender disparity, with men outnumbering women by almost five times.
  • It shows that of the people migrating 83% are men and only 17 % are women.
  • While most of the men migrate due to economic reasons, women do so, driven by mostly social factors.
  • It shows that 57% of migration is seasonal, where people move once or twice a year;
  • 19% is circular where those migrating move thrice a year irrespective of reasons and 24% permanent where people intend to stay for at least six months in the place they are migrating to.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] India Energy Modelling ForumPIB


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Energy Modelling

Mains level: Move for energy modelling in India


India Energy Modelling Forum (IEMF)

  • The NITI Aayog and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized the first workshop on development of the India Energy Modelling Forum (IEMF).
  • The IEMF seeks to provide a platform for policy makers to study important energy and environmental issues and ensure induction of modelling and analysis in informed decision making process.
  • The Forum aims to improve cooperation and coordination between modeling teams, the Government of India, knowledge partners and think-tanks, build capacity of Indian institutions, and identify issues for joint modeling activities and future areas of research.

What is Energy Modelling?

  • Energy modeling or energy system modeling is the process of building computer models of energy systems in order to analyze them.
  • Such models often employ scenario analysis to investigate different assumptions about the technical and economic conditions at play.
  • Outputs may include the system feasibility, greenhouse gas emissions, cumulative financial costs, natural resource use, and energy efficiency of the system under investigation.
  • Governments maintain national energy models for energy policy development.

Outcomes of the forum

  • Discussions on energy modelling in India and the world explored how energy modelling can play an important role in decision-making.
  • The panelists laid focus on bridging the rural-urban divide and factoring in energy pressures from the informal economy within models.
  • Deliberations included a spotlight on how the impact of the evolving character of India’s cities, industries and especially the transport sector should be included in the any India-centric models.
  • The shift towards electric mobility, an increasing emphasis on mainstreaming of renewable energy options and overarching environmental concerns were also stated as key factors for determining India’s energy future.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] India Urban Observatory & Video WallPIB


Mains Paper 1: Social Issues | Urbanization – problems and remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  India Urban Observatory, Smart cities mission

Mains level: Making the cities data-smart


  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the state-of-the-art India Urban Observatory and Video Wall.

What is Urban Observatory?

  • It is a platform that uses data from different sources to enable analysis and visualization over a geospatial platform can make this possible.
  • The concept of Urban Observatories was formally initiated at the UN Habitat-II Conference in 1997 in Istanbul.
  • Some examples of well-established Urban Observatories are the Global Urban Observatory network, the Dublin Dashboard and the City Dashboard of London.
  • Such platforms churn out interesting analyses and visualizations by collating massive datasets.

India Urban Observatory

  • It is an important component of the recently launched DataSmart Cities strategy that envisions creating a ‘Culture of Data’ in cities, for intelligent use of data in addressing complex urban challenges.
  • Making cities ‘DataSmart’ is key to realizing the full potential of technology interventions and innovation ecosystems in cities.
  • The Data Smart Cities Policy allows cities to open their data to public view, such as number of hospitals, gardens, people, public toilets and other city management, the official added.
  • It will be a separate portal for Smart Cities under the data.gov website.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] Shehri Samridhi UtsavPIB


Mains Paper 1: Social Issues | Urbanization – problems and remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana

Mains level: Read the attached story


Shehri Samridhi Utsav

  1. Shehri Samridhi Utsav (SSU) is a pan- India initiative of Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
  2. It aims to extend the outreach of Deendayal Antyodaya Mission – National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM), to the most vulnerable.
  3. It further aims to showcase its initiatives and facilitate access of Self-Help Group (SHG) members to the other government schemes.

Events under SSU

  1. Shehri Samridhi Utsav began with a series of rallies led by women’s’ SHGs, across the length and breadth of the country.
  2. These rallies spread awareness about DAY-NULM in urban poor communities.
  3. Through the Utsav, SHG members across cities are being linked to national government schemes.

Navigate to the page to read minutes of DAY-NULM:

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana

Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] India’s a land of cities, not villagesop-ed snap


Mains Paper 1: Indian Society|  Developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basics aspects of challenges of urbanisation

Mains level: The news-card analyses the flawed definition of urbanisation in India, in a brief manner.


  • It’s an election year in India, with the world’s largest polls expected in the spring and the focus is, as usual, on farmers and rural areas and competitive pandering to both — hardly surprising in a country that considers itself a nation of villages.


  • This narrative, however, has one major flaw. India is, in fact, more urban than it is known or acknowledged.
  • This seriously affects India’s growth prospects, leading to inefficiencies and loss of productivity in both rural and urban areas.
  • What’s worse, the resulting misallocation of resources is making India’s blossoming urban areas well-nigh unlivable.


Problem of definition: What constitute an Urban area?

  • The problem in India as elsewhere is largely one of definition.What constitutes a city or urban area varies widely around the world.
  • Some nations employ simple population cut-offs: Mexico and Venezuela count any town with more than 2,500 residents as urban, while New Zealand uses 1,000 people.
  • Since 2000, the U.S. Census has focused instead on population density (above a minimum threshold of 2,500 residents).
  • China uses a density criterion of 1,500 people per square kilo-meter, but recently expanded the definition to include residents of villages that are directly connected to municipal infrastructure or that receive public services from urban municipalities.
  • In India, only “statutory towns” are considered urban and have a municipal administration — a definition that officially leaves the country 26 % urban.
  • State governments make the decision using widely differing criteria; demographic considerations are peripheral at times.
  • The Census of India provides the only other official, and uniform, estimate. Its formula uses a mix of population, density and occupation criteria, and pegs India at 31 % urban.
  • Such estimates can be misleadingly low. For instance, Kerala is statutorily only 16 % urban. Yet the census sees the well-developed southern state as approximately 48 % urban.
  • If we use a population cut-off of 5,000 residents as Ghana and Lebanon do, or even Mexico’s threshold of 2,500 people, Kerala’s urban share leaps to 99 %, which is more consistent with ground reality. In effect, then, a state that’s close to 100 % urban is being governed as if it was only 16 % urban.
  • This pattern plays out across many large Indian states. Using a reasonably conservative definition as Ghana does, in fact, India is already close to 50 % urban, far removed from the dominant narrative that India lives in her villages.

Implications and Challenges

  • The consequences of underestimating the urban share of the population are dire.
  • Resources are badly misallocated: By one estimate, over 80 % of federal government financing still goes to rural development.This reduces incentives for politicians, especially rural ones, to change the status quo.
  • Tens of millions of Indians who live in dense, urban-like settlements are governed by rural governments that lack the mandate and the money to deliver basic services.
  • In India, urban governments are constitutionally required to provide things such as fire departments, sewer lines, arterial roads and building codes. Local bodies in rural areas aren’t.
  • Not acknowledging towns as urban also encourages haphazard and chaotic development.
  • As satellite data clearly show, most cities extend well beyond their administrative limits, and dense, linear settlements spread out of those cities along transit corridors.
  • This growth is unregulated and unplanned, marred by narrow roads, growing distance from major thoroughfares, limited open space and haphazardly divided plots.

Example of Kozhikode

  • As the map below of growth in Kozhikode (formerly known as Calicut) between 1975 to 2014 shows, what appears to be a single economic unit is now governed by a multitude of rural and urban jurisdictions, with no mechanism to coordinate on mobility, public goods or municipal services.
  • It’s difficult and expensive to retrofit such cities with proper infrastructure and services: In the areas below, road widths fall from an average of 10 meters pre-1990 to four meters in new growth areas.

Way Forward: Need for standard definition

  • India is hardly the only country to face these problems, even though its size and level of development makes the challenge here particularly acute.
  • The planet is over 50 % urban and continues to urbanize rapidly, almost entirely in the developing regions of Asia and Africa.
  • As long as there are no standard definitions, urban-rural classifications are likely to be political, path-dependent and arbitrary.
  • This will deny many countries the vital scale and agglomeration economies provided by urban areas, a necessary condition for escaping poverty.
  • A universal definition would need to be flexible. Instead of imposing a simple population cut-off, governments could track population densities and offer more urban services where they are highest.
  • Additionally, satellite data can be used to track the spread of development, so that city boundaries are expanded when necessary and where logical.


  • Any attempt to create a common and well-understood urban definition will be politically fraught and contested. But such an effort is critical.
  • Whether millions get to live in the equivalents of Melbourne, Tokyo or Stockholm rather than Mumbai, Lagos or Kinshasa crucially depends on these choices.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] Lopsided spatial development in India needs to be fixedop-ed snap


Mains Paper 1: Indian Society | Developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: MoHUA Schemes

Mains level: The newscard discusses issues, related to Lopsided spatial development in India, in a brief manner.


  • India’s unprecedented economic growth during the last two decades has been spearheaded by lopsided spatial development, with clusters of economic activity concentrated in a few highly dense megacities.
  • Engines of growth have failed to spread to less dense secondary cities.


  1. A majority of the population in India still lives outside megacities, this has created huge spatial disparities. Uneven spatial development is common in many countries, but it is much more pronounced in India.
  2. Unlike in China, Europe and the US, where the engines of growth and job creation have spread to the secondary cities, in India medium-sized cities remain mired in joblessness and poverty.
  3. Policymakers frown upon unequal spatial disparities and this has increased the importance of inclusive spatial development in our development discourse.

Why is India’s spatial development so lopsided?

  1. India’s manufacturing sector is spatially spreading at a much faster pace than the services sector. However, the manufacturing sector has not spread to all districts. Only those districts that have improved their physical and human infrastructure have attracted manufacturing enterprises.
  2. India’s services sector, a bigger engine of growth and job creation, has experienced different spatial evolution trends. High-density service clusters have continued to grow at a much faster pace than less dense areas and more dense locations have become more concentrated over time.
  3. This stands in contrast with the US, where in the last decades services have tended to grow fastest in medium density locations, such as Silicon Valley. India’s experience is not common to all fast-growing developing economies.

Why is India’s spatial evolution so different?

  1. One explanation is that while India’s megacities suffer from severe congestion costs, they also benefit from huge agglomeration economies and knowledge spillovers.
  2. The Fourth Industrial Revolution and new technology have favoured the trade-offs toward a concentration in services and a spread of maturing manufacturing.
  3. Modern services are benefitting more from knowledge spillovers compared to the manufacturing sector. This explains why agglomeration economies in services is likely to dominate congestion costs even in megacities, thus allowing high-density locations in India to grow at a much faster pace.
  4. It is more likely that the megacities in India are more successful not because they are less congested, but because spatial development policies and frictions are preventing the secondary cities from growing.

Future spatial trends

  1. Like spatial evolution experience of China and the US, India’s engines of growth and job creation will be in its secondary cities and not megacities.
  2. The relatively slow-growing Indian districts will grow much faster in the future.
  3. Of the well-known IT clusters in India, the medium-density places, such as Ahmedabad, Pune and especially Bengaluru, will have high growth rates in the future, while the high-density places, such as Chennai and Mumbai, will slow down.

Way Forward

  1. Engines of growth and job creation are not tied to big cities. Services can spread spatially at a much faster pace than the manufacturing sector and contribute to more inclusive growth.
  2. For this to happen, policymakers will need to improve access to telecommunication and post-secondary education in secondary cities.
  3. It is unfortunate that the services sector, which has contributed more to growth and job creation than manufacturing during the last two decades, has not got a seat at the table in our development discourse.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] ECO Niwas Samhita 2018PIB


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Eco Niwas Samhita

Mains level: Promoting energy efficiency standards in building and constructions


  • Giving a further fillip to India’s energy conservation efforts, Ministry of Power has launched the ECO Niwas Samhita 2018, an Energy Conservation Building Code for Residential Buildings (ECBC-R).

ECO Niwas Samhita 2018

  1. It aims to benefit the occupants and the environment by promoting energy efficiency in design and construction of homes, apartments and townships.
  2. The parameters listed in the Code have been developed based on large number of parameters using climate and energy related data.
  3. ECBC for commercial buildings was already in place and revised and updated version of ECBC for commercial buildings was launched in June 2017.
  4. Initially, Part-I of the Code has been launched which prescribes minimum standards for building envelope designs with the purpose of designing energy efficient residential buildings.
  5. The implementation of this Code will give a fillip to energy efficiency in residential sector.


  1. The Code is expected to assist large number of architects and builders who are involved in design and construction of new residential complexes in different parts of the country.
  2. Implementation of this Code will have potential for energy savings to the tune of 125 Billion Units of electricity per year by 2030, which is equivalent to about 100 million ton of Co2 emission.
  3. It is estimated that energy demand in the building sector will rise from around 350 billion units in 2018 to approximately 1000 billion units by year 2030.

National Energy Conservation Awards

  1. National Energy Conservation Day is celebrated every year on 14th December by Ministry of Power in association with Bureau of Energy Efficiency.
  2. In order to recognise the efforts of industry and other establishments towards promoting energy efficiency, on this Day, Ministry of Power organizes National Energy Conservation Awards.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] PAISA Portal for Affordable Credit & Interest Subvention Access launched under DAY-NULMPIB


Mains Paper 1: Social Issues | Urbanization – problems and remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: PAISA Portal, Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana

Mains level: Read the attached story


PAISA Portal

  1. PAiSA stands for  Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access
  2. Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs
  3. It is a centralized electronic platform for processing interest subvention on bank loans to beneficiaries under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM).
  4. The web platform has been designed and developed by Allahabad Bank which is the Nodal bank.
  5. PAiSA is an effort by the government to connect directly with the beneficiaries, ensuring that there is greater transparency and efficiency in delivery of services.
  6. DBT of subvention on monthly basis under DAY-NULM will give the necessary financial support to small entrepreneurs in a timely manner.
  7. All 35 states / UTs & all scheduled commercial banks, RRBs and Cooperative Banks are expected to be on board the PAiSA portal the year end.


Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana

Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] Urban Only In Nameop-ed snap


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems & remedies

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: JNNURM, Smart Cities mission, AMRUT scheme

Mains level: Need of developing small towns to reduce the load on the major cities


The apathy of small towns

  1. Small towns in India are something of an oxymoron
  2. They are far removed from cities in character and appearance and are constantly struggling to establish their “urbanness”
  3. Every small town in India has its unique story and significance but their problems are similar — lack of basic services, dilapidated infrastructure, overcrowded spaces and dwindling job opportunities

Transformation in lifestyle

  1. These towns have thriving marketplaces with urbanesque spaces like supermarkets, beauty parlours and gymnasiums
  2. They have private schools and clinics, a variety of fast-food eateries, modern tailoring shops and mobile and electronic stores
  3. Such entrepreneurial energy says something about the growing small-town population which desires better services and an improved quality of life
  4. But this is relatively unrecognised by the government

Schemes only focused on major cities

  1. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) covered both big cities and small towns but gave financial preference to the former
  2. The change in government in 2014 led to amendments in urban policy
  3. JNNURM was replaced by the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) that focusses on infrastructural development for Class I cities (those with a population of one lakh and above)
  4. The Smart Cities Mission (SCM) was launched to address our growing fascination with world-class cities that use technology to improve their services
  5. The common thread between these urban schemes is that they cater to Class I cities, which already have better access to services
  6. For example, as per the 2011 census, 50 to 60 per cent of households in these cities have access to piped sewerage and closed drains
  7. The percentage of the population who have access to these services in smaller towns is way lower

Why small towns are important?

  1. One-fourth of the urban population lives in these small towns (20,000 to 1,00,000 population)
  2. These 7 crore people need amenities to match up to their “urban” status
  3. Many of these towns may not be in the vicinity of big cities
  4. But though they are small in size, many of these small towns have an enormous growth potential
  5. Many studies have shown that the benefits of small town development can spill over to villages, especially in terms of employment generation

Way forward

  1. The debate between progress and development is not new — the former is largely about world-class cities while the latter focuses on a more inclusive agenda
  2. But the current government’s focus on big cities is problematic
  3. The development of small towns can make these urban centres fulfil the long-standing demand for a link between rural India and the country’s big cities and towns
  4. The growing population in these small towns needs to be backed by adequate investments by the Centre
  5. There should be a key role for these urban centres in development planning
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] NITI Aayog organizes South Asian Regional Conference on Urban InfrastructurePIB


Mains Paper 1: Social Issues | Urbanization, their problems and remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Effective management of urban infrastructure


South Asian Regional Conference on Urban Infrastructure

  1. NITI Aayog partnered with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to host a South Asian regional conference.
  2. The Conference aims to review overall issues and assess the sustainability of PPPs and urban finance in South Asia, specifically India, while broadening the knowledge base and engaging on international best practices.
  3. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been one such option that enables governments to optimally share the risks associated with a project’s life cycle.
  4. The conference will emphasize the need to ensure adequate return on investments in infrastructure through properly structured Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) and de-risking of projects.

Need for De-risking

  1. Considering the quantum deficit in infrastructure implementation vis-à-vis the demand, it is urgently needed to focus on newer means of implementing and financing urban infrastructure.
  2. In India alone, until 2040, estimated investments of around $4.5 trillion are required in the infrastructure space.
  3. With respect to urban needs, the population in South Asia is expected to grow by around 250 million till 2030, while that in India is expected to reach around 590 million during the same period.
  4. There are an estimated 98 million people who reside in the slums of Indian cities and are disproportionately deprived of access to basic services and infrastructure.
  5. These gaps must be addressed, so that the cities grow equitably and in an environmentally responsible way.
  6. The South Asian regional conference is a first of its kind, with participation from across the South Asian region including leaders from the government, industry, research organizations, academia, think tanks and civil society.

Other Aspects

  1. To implement urban infrastructure in India, a deeper deliberation is required on the means of democratizing the governance at the city level.
  2. It shall provide greater operational and fiscal autonomy to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).


Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] Why there should be more pedestriansop-ed snap


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The idea of pedestrianization of cities and its associated benefits


No vehicle day across the world

  1. Allowing only non-motorized vehicles (NMVs) in cities and/or parts of cities is becoming an increasingly accepted policy in cities worldwide
  2. Many cities in the West have taken the lead in injecting “traffic evaporation”

Examples of full/partially vehicle free cities

  1. Madrid, Paris, New York and Portland are such examples
  2. In the East, parts of Tokyo and Kyoto give one a sense of what can be achieved when we pedestrianize certain streets
  3. Copenhagen is a shining example of such a move. It started to ban motorized vehicles in the 1960s. Now, it has over 200 miles of bike lanes and half its population bikes to work
  4. São Paulo has also banned Sunday movement of motor vehicles on Paulista Avenue—a 2.8 km stretch that is considered the testimony of Brazil’s economic vibrancy and rising stature in the global economy
  5. It is now accepted that Paulista Avenue has given a booster shot to the city’s cultural scene while breaking barriers between people

Benefits of pedestrian-only streets

  • The air quality in cities has been reported to greatly improve when a significant share of their roads are closed for motor vehicles
  1. This is largely because of action against diesel vehicles, which are primary contributors to air pollution, mostly because of emission of particulate matter (PM)
  • Such measures lead to an improved quality of life
  1. The cultural expression, free-wheeling interaction of citizens, increased physical exercise, and reduced travel times in many cases contribute to enhanced quality of life
  • Most cities that experimented with such pedestrianization also saw higher reliance on the use of bicycles
  1. Some cities witnessed emerging business models focusing on cycling
  2. After Paris created 400 miles of bicycle lanes in 2007, it also launched a bike sharing programme, Vélib, which is considered to be the largest and most used system in the West
  • It leads to an explosive increase in cultural expression
  1. Local dance and songs, theatre, street wall art, marathons, open-theatre, food walks, and night-life exploration are a few such activities
  2. Such cultural expression and the emergence of cities’ characters lead to heightened economic activity and tourism
  3. The economic gains also extend to lower costs associated with lower congestion, accidents and health expenditures
  • Improved aesthetics of the cities
  1. The deterioration of urban landscape bottoms-out, noise and air pollution declines and city infrastructure opens up to new possibilities
  • The increase in equity in cities
  1. A considerable share of the city’s population does not own a car
  2. Thus, they involuntarily share the transaction costs of congested city streets without experiencing the benefits of car ownership

Way forward

  1. Pedestrianization of cities is a nuanced, low-cost initiative that has helped cities acquire multiple benefits of a sustainable environment, good health, conviviality, creation of safe and inclusive cities, road safety and cultural revival
  2. The roll-call on benefits of restricting motorized vehicles does not imply a blanket and knee-jerk universal prohibition across cities
  3. This is a measure that needs to be carefully assessed and judiciously implemented
  4. Indian cities cannot overlook established benefits of motorization, industrialization, globalization and ease of doing business
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] AP, ODISHA & Madhya Pradesh Top Three States in “Ease of Living Index”PIBPrelims Only


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Ease of Living Index

Mains level: Not Much



  1. Andhra Pradesh has topped the charts among States in terms of “Ease of Living Index” rankings launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
  2. It was followed by Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.

Ease of Living Index

  1. The Ease of Living Index is a transformative initiative of the MoHUA to help the cities assess their liveability vis-à-vis national and global benchmarks.
  2. The Index is aimed to encourage all cities to move towards an ‘outcome-based’ approach to urban planning and management and promote healthy competition among cities.
  3. It seeks to assist cities in undertaking a 360-degree assessment of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  4. The MoHUA released the first ever ‘Ease of Living Index’ covering 111 Indian cities on 13 August, 2018, which serves as a litmus test to help assess the progress made in cities through various initiatives.
  5. All cities were evaluated out of 100.

Parameters of the Index

  1. The ‘physical’ pillar (infrastructure) was given the highest weightage of 45, while institutional (governance) and social were weighted 25 each. Economy was weighted 5.
  2. The framework comprised four pillars namely Institutional, Social, Economic and Physical which are further broken down into 78 indicators across 15 categories.
  3. These include governance, identity and culture, education, health, safety and security, economy, affordable housing, land use planning, public open spaces, transportation and mobility, assured water supply, waste-water management, solid waste management, power, and quality of environment.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

India fares poor on Global LiveabilityIOCRPrelims OnlyPriority 1


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization, their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Economist Intelligence Unit, Global Liveability Ranking

Mains level: Measures undertaken to improve living conditions in Indian cities


Global Liveability Index

  1. The rankings of 140 global cities, based on their living conditions were released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
  2. The EIU is part of UK magazine The Economist and provides forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis.
  3. The index assigns cities scores on five broad parameters — stability, healthcare, culture/environment, education, and infrastructure using 30 indicators.

India fares poor in Liveability

  1. India has fared poorly on the Global Liveability Index, 2018, with Delhi ranking 112 and Mumbai five places behind at 117.
  2. Delhi has outperformed Mumbai on education, healthcare and infrastructure, while faring marginally better on culture/environment. The only parameter in which Mumbai fares better than Delhi is stability.
  3. The weakest area for Delhi is its instability due to the high prevalence of petty and violent crimes, and a high risk of terrorism and civil unrest.
  4. It also achieves the lowest possible ranking for public transport, an indicator within infrastructure.
  5. Mumbai fares low in the infrastructure category as it is let down by poor roads and public transport and lack of water provision and quality housing.

Why makes India fare poor?

  1. Even newly-developed areas (in Indian cities) are poorly served by public transport, suffer from congestion and pollution, and have inadequate water.
  2. While private health and education are acceptable in both Mumbai and Delhi, the level and quality of public provision is well below the global average.
  3. High levels of corruption and social and religious restrictions also reduce liveability markedly in both cities.

Contrasting with Indian Study

  1. The EIU report is in contrast with the MoHUA’s recent Ease of Living Index for 111 Indian cities that was released wherein Mumbai ranked at number 3, far ahead of New Delhi at a low 65th rank.
  2. While much of the parameters and data sources are different for the two reports, New Delhi is far behind Mumbai on parameters such as health, education and physical infrastructure.
  3. EIU, which was involved in developing the methodology to measure city GDP for the Indian government’s Ease of Living report, had nothing to do with the ranking process itself.

Other Highlights of the ranking

  1. As per their ranking, the liveability factor of these two Indian cities is the same as Mexico City, Jeddah, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta.
  2. Austria’s capital Vienna has been ranked as the best city to live in, displacing Australian city of Melbourne, which had held the record for seven consecutive years.
  3. Syrian capital of Damascus continues to be ranked at the bottom of 140 cities despite the report noting that it has witnessed.
  4. Dhaka in Bangladesh is the second worst with Pakistan’s capital Karachi ranked as the fourth worst.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Pune tops Ease of Living index; Patna ranked lowest of 111 citiesPriority 1


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization, their problems and remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Ease of Living Index

Mains level: Read the attached story

Ease of Living index 2018

  1. Three cities in Maharashtra — Pune, Navi Mumbai and Greater Mumbai — top the first Ease of Living Index brought out by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
  2. Pune tops while Patna ranked lowest of 111 cities
  3. The national capital, New Delhi, is ranked 65 among 111 cities, while Chennai is in 14th place. Kolkata did not participate in the survey
  4. The other cities in the top ten include Tirupati, Chandigarh, Thane, Raipur, Indore, Vijayawada and Bhopal
  5. The three cities at the bottom of the rankings are Rampur, Kohima and Patna.

Data deficiency doesn’t mean poor performance

  1. The cities which were unable or unwilling to provide data received low scores
  2. For example, New Delhi has a score of “zero” on indicators regarding inclusive housing and mixed land use and compactness, and a score of just 0.12 on the economy and employment
  3. This does not mean that the capital actually performs so poorly on these indicators
  4. Instead, it probably means that the authorities who govern the city simply failed to provide any data on those indicators
  5. In some cases, it was a challenge to collect some of this information from data-starved urban local bodies.

Importance of this ranking

  1. A city’s ranking reflects its ability to provide data, as well as its actual performance on four different parameters:
  • Institutions or governance
  • Social indicators
  • Economic indicators
  • Physical infrastructure
  1. The ranking marks a shift to a data-driven approach to urban planning and management
  2. The future editions of the Index may also incorporate citizen and stakeholder feedback rather than relying on government data alone.

Administrative bottlenecks need to be addressed

  1. If cities are not able to provide data, their ability to plan and use their resources is questionable
  2. Particular complications were seen in indicators such as health —where local governments did not have access to data from private hospitals.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] India needs smart urbanizationop-ed snapPriority 1


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization, their problems and remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The newscard discusses the shortcomings of previous policies on urban transformation and highlights new avenues for the draft National Urban Policy which is under consideration.



  1. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has recently formed a committee to draft India’s National Urban Policy.
  2. The move is in accordance with the requirements of the New Urban Agenda of UN-Habitat, signed by 193 countries in Quito in October 2016.

Rural-Urban mismatch

  1. Case Study: Residents of Bhavanpur, a village about 15 km outside Ahmedabad, have been protesting against their inclusion in the city’s urban area by the local urban development authority.
  2. Similar protests have been observed in villages elsewhere in Gujarat. It’s a strange trend, the fruits of urban development seemingly rejected.
  3. Meanwhile, pollution in India’s urban areas seems to have sparked off a reverse migration.
  4. Farmers from Haryana who had migrated to Delhi and Gurugram for work to escape an agricultural crisis are increasingly going back to their farms during winter, unable to take the toxic pollution.

A rising number on Migration

  1. Over 34% of India’s current population lives in urban areas, rising by 3% since 2011.
  2. More importantly, while existing large urban agglomerations (those with a population above 50 lakh) have remained mostly constant in number since 2005.
  3. Smaller clusters have risen significantly (from 34 to 50 clusters with 10-50 lakh population).
  4. Migration is mostly a shadowed on that is taking place before actual urbanisation taking place in the context of basic amenities.

Stumbled initiatives on rise

  1. There is still an outstanding shortage of over 10 million affordable houses (despite the government taking encouraging steps to incentivize their construction.
  2. The annually recurring instances of floods in Mumbai, dengue in Delhi and lakes on fire in Bengaluru paint a grim picture.
  3. Various policy initiatives have not yielded much significant results.

Defining what is ‘Urban’

  1. Urban development comes under State governments, with the Governor notifying an area as urban based on parameters such as population, density, revenue generated for the local administration and percentage employed in non-agricultural activities.
  2. This notification leads to the creation of an urban local government or municipality, classifying the area as a “statutory town”.
  3. With such a vague definition, discretionary decisions yield a wide variance in what is considered a town.
  4. The Central government considers a settlement as urban if it has a urban local government, a minimum population of 5,000; over 75% of its (male) population working in non-agricultural activities; and a population density of at least 400 per sq. km.
  5. However, many States consider such “census towns” as rural, and establish governance through a rural local government or panchayat.

Infrastructural bottlenecks

  1. India spends about $17 per capita annually on urban infrastructure projects, against a global benchmark of $100 and China’s $116.
  2. Governments have come and gone, announcing a variety of schemes, but implementation has been mostly inadequate, with exploration of financing options limited as well.

Migration as a negative phenomenon

  1. Internal migration in India is very closely linked to urban transitions, with such migration helping reduce poverty or prevent households from slipping into it.
  2. Urban migration is not viewed positively in India, with policies often bluntly seeking to reduce rural to urban migration.
  3. Preventing such migration can be counterproductive it would be better to have policies and programmes in place to facilitate the integration of migrants into the local urban fabric, and building city plans with a regular migration forecast assumed.
  4. Lowering the cost of migration, along with eliminating discrimination against migrants, while protecting their rights will help raise development across the board.

Way Forward

  1. The announcement of a new urbanisation policy that seeks to rebuild Indian cities around clusters of human capital, instead of considering them simply as an agglomeration of land use, is a welcome transition.
  2. We need to empower our cities, with a focus on land policy reforms, granting urban local bodies the freedom to raise financing and enforce local land usage norms.
  3. For an India to shine, the transformation of its cities is necessary.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] Development without Felling/Cutting of TreesDOMRPIBPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NBCC

Mains level: Example of re-location and transplantation of trees at mass level 


  1. Last weekend, over 1,500 people protested in South Delhi against the proposed cutting of over 14,000 trees for a project by the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC).
  2. The NBCC/CPWD will re-work the design and plans for the remaining redevelopment of the 7 GPRA colonies to avoid felling/cutting of trees.

Tree Re-location and Transplantation

  1. NBCC has already floated an Expression of Interest for the acquisition of tree re-location/transplantation equipment and for engaging services of trained professional entities in this respect.
  2. Further, Citizens groups will be invited to suggest where transplanted trees will be planted.
  3. It may be clarified that these will not be saplings but trees of 8-12 feet height.
  4. The LG of Delhi has been advised to set up a Group of Experts/concerned citizens to interact on environmental issues and for specific further actions to be taken in respect of these colonies.


National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC)

  1. It is a Navratna organization under category I, is a Central Public Sector undertaking which trades publicly in the market and is largely owned by Government of India.
  2. It engages in the Real Estate Development & Construction business and also provides Project Management Consultancy.
  3. NBCC has also undertaken overseas projects in countries like Iraq, Libya, Nepal, Mauritius, Turkey, Botswana, Republic of Maldives, Republic of Yemen et al.
  4. NBCC is also designated as the implementing agency for executing projects under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY), Solid Waste Management (SWM) and developmental work in North Eastern Region.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] Ripples of reform in Dhakaop-ed snap


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Inadequate drainage and sewerage networks across Indian megacities and lessons that can be learnt from other megacities across the world


Dhaka’s water management

  1. Dhaka, with a population of 12.5 million, is the sixth-largest megacity in the world
  2. Dhaka has one of the worst vulnerabilities to water of any urban setting in the world
  3. It is handling it in an inclusive manner which is also financially sustainable

Similarities between Indian megacities & Dhaka

  1. Dhaka’s water challenges are similar to what we experience in our megacities
  2. Having polluted its rivers with industrial effluents and municipal sewage, the city remains heavily (80 percent) dependent on groundwater for its drinking water needs
  3. The water-table is at least 600 feet deep and it amounts to water mining from a resource that has accumulated over thousands of years
  4. It has resulted in a rapid decline in Dhaka’s water table at the rate of about two to three meters per year for close to three decades

Transformation of water usage scenario

  1. Dhaka’s water scenario transformation began in 2005
  2. In that year, the Government of Bangladesh accorded high priority to safe water and appropriate sanitation as part of its National Poverty Reduction Strategy
  3. The Asian Development Bank rose to the occasion by offering support to the Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) to carry out reforms in the water services sector and build its capacity
  4. In 2007, the piped network for distribution of water in Dhaka was in a state of disrepair with innumerable (mostly unidentified) leakages and illegal connections
  5. Loss of water due to physical leakages in the pipes was more than 50 percent
  6. Only half of the water supplied to the networks was ever billed and only 62 percent of the water bills were actually collected
  7. Dhaka has managed to invest enough in its water distribution infrastructure to raise the coverage of water connections in the non-slum areas to close to 100 percent
  8. The replacement of the old pipes has resulted in reduced physical water losses in the range of 2-14 percent at commission
  9. Trenchless technology for laying pipes allowed faster execution and reduced inconvenience to the residents, so commonly observed in trench digging works in most Indian cities

Measures to maintain the momentum

  1. DWASA has built a state-of-the-art training facility to organise regular training programmes for its staff to use smart water technologies to sustain the efficiency gains
  2. To ensure financial sustainability, there has been tariff increase of 5 per cent every year since 2007
  3. DWASA has successfully completed computerisation of the entire databases of approximately 3,00,000 connections, and monthly water bills are issued from this database
  4. A citizens’ grievance redressal centre has been established in each zone to resolve complaints regarding the services

A unique feature of the system

  1. Households living in slums (25 percent of the population) are also being connected with a piped network and are paying for water without any cross-subsidy
  2. A noteworthy development is that the slum residents organized themselves into community-based organizations and ensured that all water bills were paid on time
  3. The emphasis on connecting the slums demonstrated that the urban poor are a viable market to be taken seriously

Lessons for India

  1. Highly inadequate drainage and sewerage networks, and lack of sewage treatment continue to pose major challenges in megacities in India
  2. In Delhi, those not connected to the distribution network do not benefit from lifeline water since they remain at the mercy of the “official” tankers
  3. Dhaka slum dwellers’ monthly usage of water puts them in lifeline consumption, a level that attracts the lowest tariffs, allowing the utility to have a pro-poor and inclusive approach
  4. Indian utilities can also adopt this approach

Way forward

  1. The shift from groundwater to surface water will have to be planned and implemented
  2. It will be a long haul, but as Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher, put it, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] Constitution of Committee for Standardization and Indigenization in Metro Rail SystemsPIB


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: Metro Rail Projects are sought to be most feasible options for urban transport. Many systems of Metro rails are now indigenously manufactured in India. The newscard talks about reducing Installation and Operation Cost of metro through standardization and indigenization processes.


  1. With rapid Industrialization, Urbanization, Globalization and concentration of large population in urban centers, the cities and towns of the country are growing at a faster pace.
  2. To keep this faster pace, for moving people, goods and services, metro rail projects are playing a crucial role not only as a transportation solution but as a means to transform cities.

Metro Lines in India

  1. Today, 490 km of metro lines are operational in 10 different cities in the country.
  2. More than 600 km of metro rail projects are under construction in various cities.
  3. In the coming years, there will be robust growth in the metro rail sector.
  4. More than 350 km of new construction will be started in the next few years as more and more cities are planning for expansion or new constructions of metro rail.

Increased Govt Expenditure over Metro Projects

  1. The Government of India is providing financial support in the implementation of metro rail projects by way of Equity and Subordinate Debt as well as sovereign guarantee for multilateral and bilateral loans.
  2. The increasing trend of central government budget outlay provided for metro rail projects in last four years is evidence of the ever growing need for metro rail to decongest and enhance mobility in our cities.
  3. The average budget outlay of Govt. of India is likely to increase to about Rs 25,000 cr annually, apart from the investments envisaged by the state governments, private partners and ULBs.

Decent background for Standardization and Indigenization

  1. Various other steps have been taken for the systematic and sustainable growth of metro rail projects in the country.
  2. The standards for rolling stock and signaling systems for the metro rail in India have been notified in 2017 after concurrence from Railway Board.
  3. The standards for electrical systems have been concurred by the Railway Board recently and the same will be notified soon.
  4. The detailed specifications for the Automatic Fare Collection System and the complete eco-system based on the Rupay standard has been prepared by NPCI and C-DAC in collaboration with DMRC.
  5. Substantial expenditure has already been incurred and the first indigenous gate based on the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) is likely to be launched and BEL has been tasked for this.
  6. The specifications of the most advanced signaling system in the world viz. Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) system, which was introduced by Kochi Metro Rail first in the country, is also being formulated jointly by BEL, C-DAC, DMRC, STQC through MoHUA.

Way Forward

  1. However, there are numerous other areas for which indigenous standards need to be formulated.
  2. These are layout of metro station, platforms, signage & displays, size of tunnels, fire protection systems, disaster management systems, environment friendly and waste management systems, standards for solar panels at stations etc.
  3. These indigenous standards will ensure that metro rail sub systems for all new metro projects conform to the prescribed standards thus incentivizing manufacturers to plan for long term investments in the country and set up manufacturing units.
  4. This will also bring down the cost of the metro rail constructions and operation. For this purpose, a committee has been constituted.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Smart Cities Mission is too project-based and lacks integrated vision: Report


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization, their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Smart Cities Mission

Mains level: The newscard critically evaluates Smart Cities Mission on its very goal of area-based development thereby neglecting community development due to institutional bottlenecks.


Lack of holistic approach

  1. The government’s flagship Smart Cities Mission has been too “project-focused” instead of evolving an integrated urban development paradigm
  2. New Delhi-based Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) highlights following aspects seeking more attention:
  • Gender
  1. It also lacks a strong gender equality or non-discrimination approach to city development
  2. The report also highlights the lack of any specific directions with the mission to make Indian cities more gender friendly or non-discriminatory.
  3. The ministry of housing and urban affairs had earlier proposed to set up several smart city sub-committees, including one on gender, but these are yet to take off.
  • Area
  1. The report also critiques the model for creating small area-based ‘smart enclaves’ resulting in an undue focus on a part of the cities.
  2. These area-based development zones cover less than 5% of the geographic domain of many of the proposed smart cities, says the report prepared by the HLRN.
  • Urban Amenities
  1. The lack of a city development model, for example, and adequate standards to guide project implementation, including for housing, water, sanitation, health, and environmental sustainability.
  2. This raises questions about whether the mission will really be able to deliver on its aims and ensure the fulfillment of rights and entitlements of all city residents, the report says.
  • No HR based approach
  1. The SCM guidelines do not include any human rights-based indicators to monitor implementation of the Mission or to ensure that projects will also benefit low-income and other disadvantaged groups.
  • Least Spending made so far
  1. In its March 2018 report, the standing committee had noted that of all urban schemes, spending on Smart Cities Mission had been the lowest.
  2. Only 8% of the total identified projects under the mission have been completed in three years.

Way Forward

  1. The Smart Cities Mission should reinvent itself as the Sustainable Cities Mission.
  2. A shift is required to bring about substantial and sustained improvement in the lives and livelihoods of not only the 8% of India’s population covered by the mission’s proposed ‘area-based development’
  3. It should define its goal as development for every inhabitant of this country.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] The missing tiers


Mains Paper 2: Polity | devolution of powers & finances up to local levels & challenges therein

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: 73rd and the 74th Constitutional Amendments, Smart Cities mission, parastatal agencies

Mains level: Conflicts amongst various levels of government and its impact on governance


Status of urban local government

  1. Twenty-five years ago, the Constitution underwent what is arguably its most significant transformation with the passage of the 73rd (mandating the creation of panchayats) and the 74th (creation of municipalities) Constitutional Amendments
  2. As the Central Government’s Smart Cities mission completes three years this month, it’s the right time to examine India’s tryst with municipal governance

Concerns in the constitutional design of urban local governments 

The disempowerment and depoliticisation has happened in multiple ways

  1. First, elected representatives at the city-level are rendered powerless by making them subservient to the State government
  2. In most municipal corporations, while the mayor is the ceremonial head, the executive powers of the corporation are vested with the State government-appointed commissioner
  3. Municipal corporations are further denied their political role by the continued operation of various parastatal agencies created by the State government
  4. These agencies, which function with a certain autonomy, are accountable only to the State government, not the local government
  5. Even urban planning and land-use regulation (globally a quintessential local government function) is with State government-controlled development authorities

Inherent limitations in 74th amendment

  1. Many of its key provisions are not mandatory for the State government
  2. The functions listed under the 12th Schedule — which a State government is expected to devolve to the local government — do not include essential civic issues such as urban transportation, housing or urban commons
  3. The 74th Amendment also contains an industrial township exception whereby a municipality need not be constituted in areas which are declared as industrial townships

Ward committees not a solution

  1. Civic activism has often been focussed on the creation of two bodies mandated by the 74th Amendment — ward committees and metropolitan planning committees
  2. Civil society’s fixation with nominating its members into ward committees can further depoliticise local governments and make them captive to the interests of certain elite resident welfare associations

Way forward

  1. Indian cities have grown exponentially over the last 25 years, with some crossing the 10 million population mark
  2. As cities struggle to meet the basic needs of their inhabitants, we must re-examine the existing modes of organising power in urban India
  3. While urban governance reforms can take multiple shapes, they must be foregrounded in the political empowerment of local government that furthers local democratic accountability
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] The Invisible Majority: Women form 80 per cent of urban migrantsop-ed snap


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems and remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read the attached stories

Mains level: The newscard discusses some women specific issues related to the Urban Migration. As women form 80 per cent of urban migrants, we need a public policy to address their issues.


UN report on urban migration in India

  1. The report says India is on the “brink of an urban revolution”, as its population in towns and cities are expected to reach 600 million by 2031
  2. Fuelled by migration, megacities of India (Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata) will be among the largest urban concentrations in the world

Women as urban migrants

  1. The 2011 Census reveals that women form almost 80 per cent of internal migration
  2. An Indiaspend analysis of Census shows that women migrating for work grew by 101 per cent — more than double the growth rate for men (48.7 per cent)
  3. However, both the Census and National Sample Survey Office have failed to capture this trend
  4. These continue to cite marriage as the primary reason for women migration
    The main issue
  5. Consequently, such surveys treat women as secondary earners and ignore her other motivations for migration and her labour participation post migration

The problems faced by women migrants

  1. They remain mostly discriminated in the workforce and invariably suffer economic exclusion
  2. Denied maternity benefits or special care and more vulnerable to sexual harassment, these women migrants are more likely to be paid less than male migrants and non-migrant women
  3. In addition to low pay and inhuman working conditions

Low-skilled women migrants often get work that is saddled with health hazards

  1. According to a study by Cividep, garment workers in Bengaluru, comprising 90 per cent women migrants
  2. They often suffer from respiratory illness, tuberculosis, ergonomic problems like back pain, mental health problems such as depression
  3. and reproductive health issues such as white discharge, irregular periods and excessive bleeding

What should be done?

  1. The first step should be better data collection
  2. Capturing the complex dynamics of gender-specific migration would improve the visibility of women as economic actors and help the state respond better to their needs
  3. Aadhaar card to women migrants can ensure her access to basic needs, opening of Jan Dhan accounts and availing benefits of the National Health Protection Mission

We can learn from other countries

  1. India can learn from countries such as Austria, Belgium, Norway, Romania, UK, etc which provide vocational training to improve employability of women migrants and access to support services
  2. The “We the Women” programme of Vietnam that helped create job opportunities for women migrants is also worth studying
    Indian Example
  3. States should emulate Kerala which provide insurance and free medical treatment for its 30 million migrant workers

The way forward

  1. Women migrants have a right to equal access to employment, adequate income and social protection
  2. An inclusive National Urban Policy should integrate migration and the needs of migrants(in particular women migrants)
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] Growing cities: Migration from rural areasop-ed snap


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems and remedies

From UPSC perspectives, the following things are important

Prelims Level: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Mains Level: Specially mentioned in the mains syllabus.



  1. A fresh look at urban governance is necessary as migration from rural areas picks up pace

2018 Revision of the World Urbanization Prospects: By the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

  1. Forecasting for the year 2050, the UN agency has estimated that the percentage of urban residents in India would be 52.8, compared to 34 today
  2. Delhi would edge past Tokyo as the world’s most populous city by 2028
  3. India, China and Nigeria are expected to lead other countries and account for 35% of the projected growth in urban population by mid-century

This forecast frames the challenge before developing countries, India in particular

The imperative before the Government

  1. The government should  come up with policies that provide adequate services in the villages
    (while investing in cities to ensure that their high levels of productivity and efficiency are not compromised)

Crucial issues in Indian Cities

  1. Housing deficits have led to the proliferation of slums,
  2. lack of enforcement of building norms has left the metros heavily congested, and
  3. poor investment in public transport has fuelled unsustainable levels of private vehicle use
  4. Most cities are also unable to collect and dispose of municipal waste scientifically, and simply dump them in the suburbs
  5. Such a dismal scenario can only get worse with higher population concentrations, unless city governments come into their own

What should be done?

  1. Now is the time to take a fresh look at urban governance
  2. While the Centre’s goal of homes for all by 2022 is laudable, it is unlikely to be realised without a push from the States
  3. Integrating green spaces, open commons and wetlands will make cities cleaner and aesthetically richer


The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)

  1. It is part of the United Nations Secretariat and is responsible for the follow-up to major United Nations Summits and Conferences, as well as services to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the Second and Third Committees of the United Nations General Assembly
  2. UN DESA assists countries around the world in agenda-setting and decision-making with the goal of meeting their economic, social and environmental challenges
  3. It supports international cooperation to promote sustainable development for all, having as a foundation the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015
  4. In providing a broad range of analytical products, policy advice, and technical assistance, UN DESA effectively translates global commitments in the economic, social and environmental spheres into national policies and actions and continues to play a key role in monitoring progress towards internationally agreed-upon development goals
  5. It is also a member of the United Nations Development Group
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] A change in approach to make our cities liveableop-ed snap


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems and remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: AMRUT, Smart Cities Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, HRIDAY and Housing For All, etc.

Mains level: The newscard comprehensively discusses some issues related to Urbanisation in India. And it also talks about some possible solutions for improving the condition of Indian cities.



  1. Our cities are in a mess and the quality of life they offer is either worsening, or improving painfully slowly, depending on where you live

Special attention for sustainable urbanisation

  1. In the last three years, we have seen historically unprecedented amounts of money being set aside for municipalities through
    (1) 14th Finance Commission grants and
    (2) the five central schemes of AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation), Smart Cities Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, HRIDAY (Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana) and Housing For All

The Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS)

  1. The results of the Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) 2017 report, the fifth edition since 2013, dispels the notion that doing more of the same will transform our cities
  2. ASICS 2017 is an objective, facts-based study of the quality of governance in our cities and it shows an average improvement in the governance score of cities from 3.4 out of 10 in 2015 to just 3.9 out of 10 in 2017
  3. The scores of 23 cities across 20 states covered by ASICS 2017 are in the range of 3.0-5.1, with 12 of the 23 scoring less than 4 on 10
  4. ASICS evaluated these 23 cities on four city systems:
    (1) urban planning and design;
    (2) urban capacities and resources (mainly finance and staffing);
    (3) empowered and legitimate political representation; and
    (4) transparency, accountability and participation
  5. The overarching finding is that governance systems in our cities are broken
  6. The unequivocal message from ASICS 2017 (as also its previous editions) is that as a country we need to invest significantly in strengthening the municipality as an institution

What should be done?

  1. Chief ministers need to put in place city blueprints which have five components
  2. First, quantitative goals for a five-year period
  3. e.g. number of kilometres of walkable footpaths in the city or number of households for whom piped water supply would be extended
  4. Second, detailed activity road maps with quarterly milestones (comprising both reforms and projects),
  5. on how the quantitative goals are proposed to be achieved and how simultaneously institutional strengthening would happen
  6. Third, single owners at the city level to be appointed in whom accountability can be vested for sectors such as mobility, water supply, sanitation, housing, safety, etc.
    (rather than having multiple agencies handle parts of the same quality of life area)
  7. Fourth, performance dashboards which are published quarterly and show progress against quantitative goals and activity milestones
  8. Fifth, an institutional structure that overcomes the significant challenge of fragmentation of governance in a city across the municipality, the development authority, the water board, state departments such as traffic police, etc

The way forward

  1. City blueprints are not a pipe dream but are politically feasible
  2. Countries such as Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and the Philippines have accomplished much in their cities through such means, led by state- and city-level political leaders
  3. We need a broad coalition of stakeholders to adopt a positive narrative on institution-building and better city systems along with the narrative on outcomes
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Measurable development: When cities compete


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Smart Cities Mission, Swachh Survekshan, Liveability Index, Global Liveability Ranking

Mains level: Innovative methods to tackle urbanization problems

Rankings as a tool to gauge urban development

  1. The launch of the Smart Cities Mission in June 2015 spurred urban conurbations to compete for central grants for the first time
  2. The number of cities selected under the mission has risen to 99 already, with proposed investments of over Rs 2 lakh crore
  3. 2015 had also seen the launch of another such competitive development programme – the Swachh Survekshan – among cities to improve urban sanitation
  4. It covered 73 cities and has now been extended to all 4,041 cities in the country

Increasing use of such city rankings

  1. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has now decided to bring out a Liveability Index of 116 cities
  2. These include the 99 smart cities, state capitals, and cities with 1 million-plus population
  3. These cities will be ranked in order of the quality of life they offer
  4. For the 2018 survey, liveability standards with 79 indicators in 15 categories would be used for measuring institutional, social, economic, and physical aspects that affect the quality of life

Global rankings

  1. The Economist Intelligence Unit publishes an annual Global Liveability Ranking
  2. It ranks 140 cities by their urban quality of life based on assessments of stability, healthcare, culture, and environment, education and infrastructure
  3. Intergovernmental organizations such as the EU and UN-Habitat were among the first to try to compare outcomes in city and metropolitan areas
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Pune tops quality of governance list


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems,

Mains level: Problems posed by urbanization in India

Quality of governance among Indian cities

  1. Pune, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, and Bhubaneswar have the best quality of governance among Indian cities in 2017, a study has found
  2. The cities were scored based on the quality of laws, policies, institutions and institutional processes that together help govern them, according to the report

Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems

  1. It spans 23 Indian cities and factors in answers to 89 questions
  2. It is undertaken by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy
  3. ASICS groups questions into four categories: urban planning & design; urban capacities & resources; transparency, accountability & participation; and empowered & legitimate political representation
  4. The report addresses five major issues and suggests solutions at the local body, State, and Central government levels

Problems being faced by Indian cities

  1. A weak urban planning framework
  2. Stability of finances
  3. Lack of skilled staff and poor management of human resources
  4. Fragmentation of governance and low levels of empowerment of mayors and councilors
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Smart City Mission: Resonating with global climate themes

Image source


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: One Planet City Challenge, World Wildlife Fund for Nature

Mains level: India’s efforts at tackling rising urbanization

3 cities enter ‘One Planet City Challenge’

  1. Three Indian cities — Panaji, Pune, and Rajkot have been selected as national finalists in the 2017-18 edition of World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF)’s One Planet City Challenge (OPCC)
  2. These are among the 99 cities under the Government of India’s Smart City Mission

More competition ahead

  1. The three cities have moved on to the next phase of the challenge and will now compete for the title of National and Global Winner
  2. Over the last four years, cities that have won global challenge include – Paris (2016), Seoul (2015) Cape Town (2014) and Vancouver (2013)


One Planet City Challenge (OPCC)

  1. The One Planet City Challenge, previously known as the Earth Hour City Challenge, invites cities in participating countries to report ambitious and innovative climate actions and to demonstrate how they are delivering on the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change
  2. Data is entered on the carbonn Climate Registry, and outreach and support is provided to cities in collaboration with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
  3. Final plans and data are then reviewed by an international jury of experts tasked with identifying the most outstanding cities
  4. Since the inception of the Challenge in 2011, WWF has engaged over 411 cities across 5 continents
  5. In 2017, 118 cities in 23 countries participated in the OPCC, which had a thematic focus on Sustainable transport and mobility as a major challenge facing cities everywhere

Image source
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] Indo-German MOU on technical cooperation under Sustainable Urban Development programme & Smart Cities in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Smart Cities mission

Mains level: Urban transformation and challenges involved


  • An Indo-German MOU has been signed for an “Implementation Agreement in Sustainable Urban Development and Smart Cities in India
  •  The target is to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’

Objective of the programme :

  •  To develop and apply concepts for sustainable urban development about the provision of urban basic services and housing in selected cities and Smart Cities in India

Focus Areas

  • Sustainable urban development in the area of integrated planning,
  • provision of affordable housing
  • and basic services with particular focus on water,
  • wastewater and solid waste management and mobility
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Delhi, Mumbai to be among world’s 10 biggest cities by 2030: UN report


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: United Nations’ World Urbanization Prospects

Mains level: Growing urbanization and steps needed to provide better facilities for city residents

Delhi, Mumbai to be Megacities

  1. Delhi and Mumbai would be among the 10 largest cities in the world by 2030
  2. This was stated in a report released by the United Nations’ World Urbanization Prospects

Changes till 2030

  1. As per the report, the population in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa is only going to increase by 2030
  2. At present, Tokyo is the most populated city in the world with a population of 38 million
  3. Delhi and Mumbai will be second and fourth largest cities in the world respectively
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] A pressing need for a national urban policyop-ed snap


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems and remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The newscard discusses the importance of a National Urban Policy.


UN-Habitat “World Cities Report 2016”

  1. As per Census 2011, 377 million Indians comprising 31.1% of the total population lived in urban areas
  2. This is estimated to have risen to 420 million in 2015
  3. But India’s level of urbanization is lower than its peer group of developing countries: China (45%), Indonesia (54%), Mexico (78%) and Brazil (87%)
  4. India is in the midst of a major urbanization boom

Urbanisation: Challenges

  1. Indian cities face challenges in terms of deficits in infrastructure, governance and sustainability
  2. With rapid urbanization, these problems are going to aggravate, and can cumulatively pose a challenge to India’s growth trajectory

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut)

  1. The mission lays emphasis on creating infrastructure, improving service delivery, making cities smarter for improved livelihood and providing for faster and integrated mobility
  2. It envisages convergence across various initiatives such as Amrut, Smart Cities, Hriday (National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and Swachh Bharat

Mobilization of resources: Budget 2018-19

  1. For 2018-19, the government increased the budget for the housing and urban affairs ministry by 2.8%, to Rs41,765 crore

What should be done?

  1. What is truly required is a comprehensive framework that takes a holistic approach to the interrelated challenges that have an impact on the growth of cities
  2. Sustainable urban development needs to be led by the central government working closely with state and local governments
  3. To address this, India needs to develop its own national urban policy (NUP)
  4. Globally, around one-third of countries have a NUP in place

How can a NUP help?

  1. First, such a policy will outline and highlight the importance and objectives of cities
  2. Second, urbanization in India is a complex issue, with the majority of city-related issues being state subjects
  3. States would have to take the lead in order to make cities vibrant economic centres
  4. However, there is a need to build adequate capacities at the state/urban local bodies level to prepare cities for future challenges
  5. The NUP would set the common minimum agenda, involving participation of all stakeholders
  6. Third, a NUP will provide a framework for states, which would be encouraged and nudged to adopt a state version of this policy
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

National Urban Policy: Single policy for multiple states


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Urban Policy, AMRUT, PMAY-Housing for All, Swachh Bharat, Habitat III, New Urban Agenda, SDGs

Mains level: Tackling urbanization challenges in India

Panel to develop framework for a comprehensive national policy

  1. The Union government is set to come up with India’s first National Urban Policy framework by March this year
  2. The housing and urban affairs ministry has appointed a panel, headed by Smart City Mission Director
  3. The panel, expected to submit its report by March 2018, also includes all mission directors (AMRUT, PMAY-Housing for All, Swachh Bharat), and urban experts from the National Institute of Urban Research, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, and UN-Habitat (India)

Urban planning a state subject

  1. There has never been a comprehensive national policy that spells out the country’s plan for urbanization
  2. This is because urban development is a state subject until now

Habitat III

  1. It is a bi-decennial United Nations (UN) conference on housing and sustainable urban development
  2. New Urban Agenda, released at Habitat III defines what nations are expected to do towards the cause of sustainable urban development in the period 2016-30


  1. Goal No. 11 of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals requires world leaders to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  2. As per UN estimates, urban India will have 583 mn people by 2030, with an addition of 65 mn to the current urban population base

Effect of India’s urbanization on world

  1. India will account for 18-19 percent of the global increase in urban population and therefore its urban development indicators such as water supply, sanitation, garbage management etc will affect global averages
  2. Indian cities currently contribute 63 percent of the country’s GDP

Paradigm shift in tackling urbanization challenges

  1. Taking urbanization as an opportunity rather than a challenge
  2. Citizen-centric approach to align the development agenda of the cities with people’s priorities and needs
  3. Cooperative federalism: Freedom and resources to states/urban local bodies (ULBs) to design and implement
    Focus on infrastructure that leads to delivery of services to citizens
  4. Renewed focus on integrated planning through convergence and qualitative improvements
  5. Commitment to environment sustainability
  6. Focus on inclusive growth
  7. Technology to enhance efficiency of services delivery

India’s vision of urbanization

It lays down 10 broad levers to make cities work towards greater efficiency, inclusion, sustainability, and safety

  1. Putting in place integrated urban policies consistent with principle of co-operative federalism
  2. Harmonise agglomeration economies
  3. Harnessing the rural-urban continuum
  4. Promoting inclusive urban development
  5. Recognise and actively promote the centrality of sustainability
  6. Empowering municipalities and other local level institutions
  7. Strengthening housing finance system
  8. Provision and financing of urban infrastructure and basic services
  9. Access to social justice and gender equity
  10. Robust urban information system
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Govt plans liveability index of 116 cities


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Liveability index, Economist Intelligence Unit, Global Liveability Ranking, Liveability Standards

Mains level: Measures being undertaken to improve living conditions in Indian cities

Liveability index planned

  1. The ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has decided to bring out a liveability index of 116 cities, including the 99 smart cities already identified, state capitals, and cities with 1 million-plus population
  2. The cities, which together account for a total population of 13.4 crore people, will be ranked in order of the quality of life they offer

Modus Operandi

  1. The ministry has decided to involve the Economist Intelligence Unit, which brings out an annual liveability index of cities across the world, for the purpose
  2. The EIU of The Economist, the London-based weekly, in alliance with the IPSOS Research Private Limited and Athena Infonomics (India pvt ltd) are going to do an assessment of the liveability index
  3. The programme would be funded by the World Bank, and the assessment would be of relative nature

Global Liveability Ranking

  1. Currently, the EIU’s ‘Global Liveability Ranking’ for 140 cities includes only two Indian cities — Mumbai and Delhi
  2. As per the 2015 index, both cities fare poorly, with Delhi at 100th spot and Mumbai at 115th
  3. The ranking is based on parameters like stability, healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure

‘Liveability Standards’

  1. In June last year ministry had launched a set of ‘Liveability Standards’ relevant to Indian cities
  2. It included 79 indicators in 15 categories for measuring institutional, social, economic and physical aspects that affect quality of life
  3. These included education, healthcare, roads, mobility, jobs, grievance redressal, pollution, emergency response, green open spaces, as well as cultural and entertainment opportunities
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Govt to provide ecosystem for raising municipal bonds


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Municipal bonds, AMRUT and Smart cities mission

Mains level: Urban development and issues associated with it

10-year municipal bonds

  1. The ministry of housing and urban affairs is working on a plan to provide an ecosystem in which urban local bodies can raise money through municipal bonds
  2. ULBs will be able to raise money through 10-year municipal bonds backed by land holdings and infrastructure projects
  3. This is being done to resolve a cash crunch at ULBs for development of infrastructure in the cities

Centre’s intervention not desired

  1. Land is a state subject and no state wants centre to come in and design their cities
  2. Municipal bonds will help utilize land assets to raise money

Need of municipal bonds

  1. The government’s move to develop civic infrastructure across the country through the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and the Smart Cities Mission requires significant capital spending by ULBs
  2. These will have to be funded by market borrowings in addition to government grants
  3. ULBs will have to borrow around Rs15,000 crore to fund projects under AMRUT and the Smart Cities Mission through fiscal 2023


Municipal bonds

  1. Municipal bonds are bonds issued by urban local bodies- municipal bodies and municipal corporates (entities owned by municipal bodies) to raise money for financing specific projects specifically infrastructure projects
  2. Bangalore Municipal Corporation was the first ULB to issue Municipal Bond in India in 1997
  3. Municipal bonds in India has tax-free status if they conform to certain rules and their interest rates will be market-linked
  4. Both public issue and private issue can be adopted for municipal bonds
  5. SEBI has allowed urban local bodies to raise money through the issue of revenue bonds as well
  6. Municipal bonds where the funds raised are kept for one project are termed revenue bonds
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] Making Indian cities more competitiveop-ed snap


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Effects of urbanisation on Indian Economy, drivers of city competitiveness and how they can benefit Indian Economy

Why is urbanization important for India?

  1. The growth potential through urbanization is huge, given that India is one of the most densely populated countries in the world
  2. But India is still at an early stage in this transformation, given that it is a lot less urbanized for its stage of development
  3. The 100 smart cities programme is an effort to address this gap

Understanding of what makes cities more competitive

  1. The understanding is still evolving
  2. With more than 600 districts in India, a deeper understanding of the drivers of competitiveness, and providing benchmarks to measure, monitor and improve performance will help local leaders to pursue city competitiveness agenda better

Several drivers of city competitiveness
Demographic traits:

  1. It includes age profile and population density of a city, provide insights into the size of local market, and the potential supply of local entrepreneurs
  2. Most entrepreneurs always start their businesses in their current local area

Structural traits: Physical and Human Infrastructure

  1. Two key structural traits of city competitiveness are its physical and human infrastructure
  2. Basic services like roads, electricity, and water supply are essential for all businesses
  3. But new and small enterprises are particularly dependent upon local infrastructure
  4. Human capital is becoming increasingly more important for city competitiveness
  5. Besides physical and human infrastructure, the overall connectivity of a city to major cities is also an important structural trait of competitiveness

Agglomeration economies: 

  1. A good city infrastructure enables entrepreneurs to benefit from agglomeration economies
  2. Agglomeration economies are the benefits that come when firms and people locate near one another together in cities and industrial clusters

Other drivers of city competitiveness

  1. Two key drivers of city competitiveness in India are education and physical infrastructure
  2. These two structural traits are true for both manufacturing and services
  3. The high population density of a city makes large-scale manufacturing enterprises less competitive, and forces them to move to rural settings to become more competitive
  4. Manufacturers avoid the high costs of urban areas, but they also avoid the most remote areas of India in favour of settings that are relatively near large population centres
  5. likely to access customers directly or to connect to shipping routes

Effects of population and education on different industries

  1. The size of local population of a district plays an important role for informal manufacturing
  2. This contrasts with large firms, where education matters more
  3. Organized manufacturing establishments have access to broader resources that reduce dependency on local infrastructure and household finance
  4. For the service industry, overall district population is as important as it is for the unorganized manufacturing industry

The way forward

  1. India’s urban transformation will take place at a 100 times faster pace than what developed countries have experienced
  2. India is at the forefront of this global transformation
  3. Cities raise special challenges in forming public-private partnerships in building physical and human infrastructure
  4. They also provide a quick opportunity to accelerate growth, create jobs, and promote shared prosperity
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Centre mulls aerotropolis in Assam

  • The Centre is planning to build an aerotropolis in Assam and has sought 2,000 acres from the state for the
  • Centre proposed to build an aerotropolis in the state which would bring huge benefits to the region in terms of
    civil aviation and air connectivity.
  • Centre has requested state government to allot 2,000 acres an hour’s journey away from Guwahati city near
    Brahmaputra river.


  • An aerotropolis is a metropolitan subregion where the layout, infrastructure, and economy are centered on
    an airport which serves as a multimodal “airport city” commercial core.
  • It is similar in form to a traditional metropolis, which contains a central city commercial core and commuterlinked suburbs.
  • The engine of the aerotropolis is the airport and its air routes which offer firms speedy connectivity to their
    distant suppliers, customers, and enterprise partners worldwide.
  • The aerotropolis encompasses aviation-dependent businesses and the commercial facilities that support
    them and the multitude of air travelers who pass through the airport annually.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[op-ed snap] Challenges of a rapidly urbanising worldop-ed snap

  1. Context: Recently concluded UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III, in Quito, Ecuador
  2. A once-in-a-generation event, the Habitat conference sets a guiding compass for member-countries for the next 20 years
  3. Central theme of 2016: Challenges of a rapidly urbanising world and of providing people with equal opportunities in cities
  4. Previous years themes: Reducing urban inequality, improving access to housing and sanitation, mobility, and securing the rights of women, children, older adults
  5. Importance for India? India’s ambition to harness science and data for orderly urbanisation is articulated in a set of policy initiatives, chiefly the Smart Cities Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation
  6. UN Habitat plans to review country-level progress on its New Urban Agenda in Kuala Lumpur in 2018. India’s performance on improving the quality of life in its cities will be watched
  7. India’s ‘Housing for All’ policy: Low-cost, disaster-resistant, prefabricated constructions are the key
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

More Smart Cities to be developed

  1. News: The Ministry of Urban Development has now allowed 9 more capitals to participate in the next round of the Smart Cities competition
  2. The total list of Smart Cities to be developed has increased from 100 to 109 after the addition
  3. 9 more capitals are proposed, including Patna, Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru, Amaravati, Itanagar and Gangtok
  4. Context: As per the Urban Development Policy, only 100 cities are listed to be developed as Smart Cities in the next 5 years
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

What is an international arbitration centre?

  1. IAC is a centre where disputes arising out of commercial agreements from sectors like insurance, shipping, construction, private equity and other trades are handled
  2. Arbitration is different from court litigation and is typically less time-consuming
  3. Why? Because it is done in private between the lawyers representing the aggrieved parties
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Singapore Arbitration Centre to open India office

  1. The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) will establish a representative office at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City)
  2. Aim: To resolve international commercial disputes
  3. As per the the agreement, GIFTCL, GIFT SEZ and SIAC will collaborate to promote the use of arbitration, mediation and other dispute resolution mechanisms
  4. It also includes the innovative ‘Arb-Med-Arb’ service offered by the SIAC and the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC)
  5. Further, SIAC will establish a representative office at GIFT City to promote its international arbitration services to Indian users
  6. Indian parties are among the top five foreign users of SIAC in the last five years & India was the top foreign user of SIAC in 2013 and 2015
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Pune makes it to Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities programme

  1. New York-based Rockefeller Foundation has included Pune it in its 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) programme
  2. Earlier: Pune was included in the first roster of the ‘Smart Cities’ project
  3. Pune’s inclusion will help enhance its ‘Smart City’ bid & will provide an international platform to exchange ideas and help to implement modern urban planning practices
  4. Pune, along with Jaipur, was included in the final tranche of 37 cities that were unravelled in Nairobi and includes rapidly growing megacities like Jakarta and Seoul
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Lucknow, Warangal among 13 smart cities announced by govt

  1. Context: Centre announced the names of 13 more cities that will be developed under the Smart City Mission
  2. Cities: Lucknow in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh tops the list, followed by Warangal in Telangana and Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh
  3. Chandigarh, Raipur (Chhattisgarh), New Town Kolkata, Bhagalpur (Bihar), Panaji (Goa), Port Blair (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Imphal (Manipur), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Agartala (Tripura) and Faridabad (Haryana)
  4. Selection process: These cities were chosen from the 23 that failed to get representation in the first round of a competition held in January, and participated in the fast-track competition
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

ADB offers loans for Smart City projects

  1. Context: The Asian Development Bank has agreed to extend a loan of $1 billion for the Smart City Projects
  2. The World Bank is also willing to give a loan of $0.5 billion
  3. Ratings: The cities should work toward achieving decent enough credit ratings from agencies approved by the SEBI
  4. Why? This is important for resource mobilisation and the creation of municipal- level bonds
  5. The process for the credit rating of 85 cities had already been initiated under AMRUT
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Ensure project launch by June 25: Govt to first 20 smart cities

  1. News: Centre has asked the concerned states under the ‘Smart City Mission’ to ensure launch of their respective projects by June 25
  2. Govt. also urged the smart cities to ensure appointment of full-time CEOs for the SPVs
  3. Financing: The first batch of 20 selected smart cities have proposed a total investment of over Rs 48,000 crore over the next 4 years
  4. The central govt will provide an assistance of Rs 500 crore for each city and the respective states and urban local bodies will provide an equal amount
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

NITI Aayog to develop smart mobility planning kits

  1. Context: NITI Aayog has decided to come out with mobility planning tool kits to facilitate smart and sustainable urban transport solutions
  2. Need: Indian urban population expected to reach 600 million by 2030
  3. Kits will be developed with the help of experts, state governments and local urban body authorities
  4. Focus: Small (1 to 10 lakh) and medium (10 to 50 lakh) sized cities
  5. Benefits: Promote developing public transportation like city bus services and bus road transit (BRT)
  6. Also help make streets with provisions for people can walk, cycle and park
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Germany focusses on 3 cities for Smart City project

  1. Context: India’s ambitious Smart Cities programme is receiving support from various countries
  2. News: Kochi, Bhubaneswar and Coimbatore would be the first three cities to receive Germany’s support under the Smart City project
  3. Reason: German companies have developed smart solutions to make smart cities
  4. Benefits: Germany has been involved in various fields related to Smart Cities such as sustainable urban mobility, water and waste-water management, renewable energies and energy efficiency
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

North East’s 1st Smart Village

  1. Context: Barsimaluguri, about 11 km from the Indo-Bhutan border, in Baksa district has been turned into a model smart village
  2. Geography: a remote nondescript, insurgency-ravaged village in Assam along Indo- Bhutan border
  3. Developments? 100% toilets, solar power and pure drinking water
  4. Initiative: by a few individuals under the aegis of Nanda Talukdar Foundation (NTF)
  5. 4 Main Verticals: alternative energy, drinking water, sanitation and skill development
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Pact to develop Vizag as smart city

  1. Context: Pact between US Trade & Development Agency (USTDA) & Andhra Pradesh Government
  2. Aim: To develop infrastructure, communications and data systems
  3. Smart city: Development is in line with its goal to become a Smart City
  4. Award: this cooperation is particularly timely as Vizag recently won 1st phase of Smart Cities Challenge by GoI
  5. Impact: Development and modernization efforts will be partially supported by the central government
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

U.K. firms keen to build hospitals in Smart Cities

Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu met a business delegation from the U.K. that advocated setting up hospitals in Indian smart cities

  1. Mr. Modi and Mr. Cameroon had agreed to support opening of 11 Indo-UK Institutes of Health in India with an investment of £1 billion
  2. Mr. Naidu also met delegation of U.S. businessmen and assured them that Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV), one of the key administrative bodies for Smart Cities
  3. This would give ample powers to ensure timely execution of smart development projects
  4. The Smart Cities Trade Mission is keen to learn more about the market and new business opportunities
  5. By creating a forum to explore avenues for collaboration, the mission fosters commercial engagement between the 2 countries
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Learn about HRIDAY schemeGovt. Schemes

With 32 UNESCO recognized natural and cultural heritage sites, ranking second in Asia and fifth in the world

  1. The National Heritage Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) aims to preserve and rejuvenate the rich cultural heritage of the country.
  2. Ministry: Urban Development
  3. It seeks to promote an integrated, inclusive and sustainable development of heritage sites
  4. This will focusing not just on maintenance of monuments but on advancement of the entire ecosystem including its citizens, tourists and local businesses
  5. The tourism potential of the country is still to be fully harnessed and this scheme will help in this regard
  6. The 12 cities selected for the scheme are Ajmer, Amritsar, Amravati, Badami, Dwarka, Gaya, Warangal, Puri, Kanchipuram, Mathura, Varanasi and Velankanni
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Giving cities the smart edgeop-ed snap

Make intelligent use of information technology to deliver better civic services.

  1. Rapid and poorly regulated urbanisation has overwhelmed urban governments, rendering them incapable of providing even basic services.
  2. Smart city is one that “enables a decent life to the citizens, and green and sustainable environment, besides enabling adoption of smart solutions”.
  3. Smart cities would create virtually new business districts in several cities, marking a departure from the disaggregated urban development witnessed in the past.
  4. This area-based development approach makes it imperative that the resulting demand for mobility to and from the ‘smart’ area be made an integral part of the plan.
  5. Emphasis should be on walkability, use of non-motorised transport and access to public transport.
  6. Care also needs to be taken that the effect is not to create gated communities of best practices.
  7. But ensuring that these urban enclaves cater to the housing, health, education and recreation needs of a wide cross section of society.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Centre hand-picks 20 smart cities for first phase of plan

Ministry to soon introduce credit rating to attract investors.

  1. The list of 20 cities that have qualified to build smart infrastructure with Rs. 200 crore each from the Central government’s first phase of funding.
  2. The Ministry has given top rating to Bhubaneswar for its robust Smart City plan.
  3. Mission promotes integrated city planning, where Swachh Bharat Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation complement each other.
  4. The Central government has created an outside agency named Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
  5. This will be headed by a CEO, and will be given powers to “execute” the proposed developments and projects.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

What is Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation?Govt. Schemes

  1. AMRUT is the new avatar of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
  2. AMRUT adopts a project approach to ensure basic infrastructure services relating to water supply, transportation and development of green spaces.
  3. Under this mission, 10% of the budget allocation will be given to states and union territories as incentive based on the achievement of reforms during the previous year.
  4. AMRUT will be implemented in 500 locations with a population of one lakh and above.
  5. Central assistance will be to the extent of 50% of project cost for cities and towns with >10 lakh population.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Biodiversity database for smart city initiative to be launched soon

A biodiversity database for urban India will be prepared for better species diversity management, dovetailed to the smart city initiative.

  1. The National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, has made a proposal to its parent organisation, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which has given its consent.
  2. The core infrastructure of a smart city demands sustainable environment and health, and the portal will be helpful in this regard.
  3. The portal will help identify as to which species would be suitable for growing in a particular environment.
  4. To start with, the NBRI will upload the published database pertaining to the local biodiversity of each city, including the varieties of plants and trees that are endemic to it.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

National Urban Information System (NUIS)Govt. Schemes

Within 1 year, after the completion of geospatial thematic database, NRSC has hosted the database on Bhuvan Geoportal and developed Bhuvan-NUIS application.

  1. NUIS is the project of Ministry of Urban Development with Survey of India as the focal point.
  2. At the behest of Ministry of Urban Development, National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of ISRO has prepared geospatial thematic database.
  3. For 152 towns on 1:10,000 scale and carried out Aerial survey of 132 towns at 1:2,000 scale for Survey of India.
  4. Under its Disaster Management Programme, ISRO has provided the flood inundation maps using satellite data extensively during the recent floods of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Smart cities asked to provide for Piped Natural Gas supply and CNG stations

Govt. has asked the States and Urban Local Bodies(ULBs) to provide for PNG supply and CNG stations in the cities selected for development as Smart Cities.

  1. They were asked to ensure convergence of various schemes of the Central Govt aimed at enhancing energy supply.
  2. It urged the ULBs to ensure speedy approvals for laying City Gas Distribution(CGD) Pipelines in smart cities.
  3. It also asked them to ensure Roof Top based solar power generation as a part of measures to ensure that 10% of energy demand is met from solar power.
  4. They should make use of infrastructure being provided for enabling smart solutions for video-monitoring of crimes, effective management of water, power, traffic, solid waste etc.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Cities seek to address water logging problem under Atal Mission

Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Gujarat and Odisha take lead in constructing storm water drains

  1. 5 States to invest Rs.242 cr under Atal Mission action plans for 2015-16.
  2. With water logging in cities following rains being a recurrent problem, to address issue under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
  3. Construction of storm water drains prioritized after provision of basic infrastructure relating to water supply and sewerage connections.
  4. Central assistance to the extent of 50% of project costs, with a population of below 10 lakhs each and one-third of project cost if population is above 10 lakhs.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

British financial aid to propel Pune’s ‘smart city’ dream

  1. David Cameron has announced British technical and financial aid to develop Pune, Amravati and Indore.
  2. U.K. would enter into a 5-year partnership to develop these cities.
  3. British companies with their world-class consulting, project management and engineering skills, will help plan, design and build these new cities.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Smart City: States keen on foreign expertise

  1. The officials of most of the 88 upcoming smart cities have expressed their wish to work with international consulting firms.
  2. The cities want to prepare robust development plan to win govt. funding.
  3. The plans shall contain area development action plans and financing plan for the complete life cycle of the proposal.
  4. These cities will compete with each other to secure a slot in top 20 positions that the govt. will finance for the coming financial year.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Smart City has to be compact: experts

  1. For the first time, Urban Development Ministry has organized the workshop on the Smart City Mission for mayors and commissioners.
  2. The govt. emphasized that urban renewal policies were designed to accommodate the urban poor.
  3. This is in contradiction to the model which largely relies on high property taxes and expensive public services.
  4. The cities have to be compact, spread on minimum of 500 acres with adequate water supply, assured electricity, sanitation and efficient urban mobility.
  5. To fill the financial gaps the government would have to increase taxes on property, entertainment, advertisements and parking lots.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Needed, smart solutionsop-ed snap

  1. The corporate in the field of smart energy, surveillance, etc. have welcomed the clarity for industry players to engage with the cities administration.
  2. All the companies are looking to sell their high-tech products to the cities.
  3. But, govt. is yet to reveal what kind of technology it intends to procure and deploy.
  4. There is not much clarity on smart cities which seeks to integrate public transport, drinking water, solid waste mgmt., sanitation and sewerage which are similar in AMRUT.
  5. The smart cities in Europe and US are driven by IT, such as one massive control room would deliver public services.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Centre unveils list of 98 smart cities

  1. The largest share of developing 13 smart cities is with UP, followed by Tamil Nadu, which qualified to develop 12.
  2. The Smart City Mission promotes integrated city planning with an aim to achieve inclusive growth.
  3. The Ministry will impose fines on States that violate the timeline of 60 days of finalising the projects.
  4. The smart city mission will attract both national and international investors who are looking for opportunities.
  5. The mission will see govt. schemes re-enforcing each other, such as Swachh Bharat Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.
Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

Foreign investors express interest in Smart Cities project

  1. The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) is anticipating private foreign investments worth at least Rs 4 lakh crore till 2020 in the 100 Smart Cities.
  2. This accounts for 80% of the estimated spending on the mission, with only the remaining 20% coming from the center and the states.
  3. Smart Cities initiative involves efficient provision of infrastructure and services, urban mobility and governance, mainly through use of digital technology.

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