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100 Smart Cities and 500 AMRUT Urban Renewal and Retrofitting Projects

Discussion in 'World Economy' started by Agent_47, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. Indx TechStyle

    Indx TechStyle Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    by The Diplomat
    [​IMG]A view of the interior of the newly-constructed Lemon Tree Premier hotel, located outside the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi April 2, 2013. The cluster of hotels built here is known as Aerocity.
    Image Credit: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
    Life In Aerocity: Finding India’s Place in the New Strategic Context
    “India will be a leading author in the next chapter of world politics.”

    Over the past three years, through periodic observations, I have measured the rise of New Delhi Aerocity, the commercial complex adjacent to Indira Gandhi International Airport. Unlike the unruly and burgeoning outskirts of this megacity – the teeming slums, clogged arteries, impromptu shrines and haphazard construction – Aerocity is sterile and organized, and, hopefully, a secure compound of paned-glass modernity. Like its cousins, Gurgaon’s DLF Cyber City and Noida’s Jaypee Sports City, Aerocity is a planned urban-development with a specific commercial design, in this case an international business hub intended to enhance the airport’s economic engine beyond aeronautical activities, a common characteristic of our futuristic global age.

    [​IMG]Aerocity construction Credit: Roncevert Ganan Almond
    In the shadow of the future, history always awaits in India. At Aerocity, the nearby Delhi Metro connects you to the city center, and within half an hour you can wander through Old Delhi to Kashmiri Gate, locus of the siege of Delhi, a key battle during the Mutiny of 1857. Sometimes known as India’s First War of Independence, an event credited by Karl Marx as a national revolt, the Mutiny ushered in a new age in the history of the subcontinent and the world: the establishment of the British Raj and direct colonial rule, the beginning of an end. The Congress party – of Gokhale, Tilak, Gandhi and Nehru – would be founded a generation later. The seeds of change were planted in the reddened soil of Delhi.
    With the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, a revolt of sorts, a new era appears in the making once again. As Arun Kumar Singh, the former Indian ambassador to the U.S., notes, the Trump presidency remains undefined; and it is unclear, in my view, whether President Trump will sustain America’s global leadership. In its report on global trends, prepared every four years for the incoming president, the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC) describes an international landscape in flux, as the post-Cold War, unipolar moment has passed and the rules-based international order is being subject to revision. Without a doubt, India will be a leading author in the next chapter of world politics and the Asia-Pacific will be the manuscript upon which it is written.

    The new café at Aerocity, therefore, seemed like the appropriate place to consider the NIC’s findings and India’s place in the new strategic context.

    Victim of Success

    The period of the greatest globalization in the world economy – from 1989 to 2008 – fueled a historic rise in living standards for almost a billion people. As described by the NIC, the biggest “winners” included members of the new middle class in emerging economies, with India being an exemplary example. [Among the “losers” were lower-to-middle-income households of advanced economies, a political reality confirmed by the 2016 U.S. presidential election.]

    Beginning in the 1990s, India enacted liberalizing economic reforms fueling historic growth rates that crested in 2010. The scale and speed of the growth was exceptional: India doubled its per capita income in 17 years; the United Kingdom took 154 years to perform the same feat. As a result, many of the world’s households who graduated from subsistence – living in “extreme poverty” (below $2 a day) – reside in India. And with increased wealth comes increased hope.

    Among the global trends identified by the NIC is a growing distrust of governments and elites due to a widening gap between government performance and public expectations. In this vein, the rise of Narendra Modi, with his Gujurat-model, may be interpreted as a response to India’s economic downturn in 2011 and the perceived incapability of the Congress-led coalition government. In turn, the test for the prime minister is satisfying the increasing middle class sensibilities of his electorate while addressing India’s profound structural and societal challenges.

    Fortunately for South Block, the NIC predicts that India will be the world’s fastest growing economy during the next five years as China’s economy slows. At the same time, India is facing escalating demands for education and employment that accompany its rising, youthful population. According to the NIC report, India will need to create as many as 10 million jobs each year in the coming decades to meet new demand in the workforce. In the meantime, disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and increased automation could eliminate jobs and place India in a middle-income trap. Insufficient opportunity may lead to radicalization of the country’s bulging youth.

    For example, in search of meaning and identity, disaffected youth could turn to religious and ethnic identity, which in India, despite its worthy efforts at promoting tolerance, could mean sharpened communal divisions. Recent protests in Chennai, the country’s fourth largest metropolitan area, asserting Tamil culture may be evidence of this phenomena. Moreover, India is projected to surpass Indonesia as having the world’s largest Muslim population in 2050. In the words of the NIC:

    “The perceived threat of terrorism and the idea that Hindus are losing their identity in their homeland have contributed to the growing support for Hindutva, sometimes with violent manifestations and terrorism. India’s largest political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, increasingly is leading the government to incorporate Hindutva into policy, sparking increased tension in the current sizable Muslim minority as well as with Muslim-majority Pakistan and Bangladesh.”

    Added to this dynamic is the problem of widespread prenatal sex selection. The NIC projects that within 20 years, large parts of India will have 10 to 20 percent more men than women. Such societal imbalances – which take decades to mitigate – have been linked to abnormal levels of crime and human rights violations such as rape, human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Even if anecdotal, newspaper headlines of sexual violence, on any given day in Delhi, is a black and white reminder of this problem.

    In sum, the NIC warns that India could become a “victim of its own success” as the country’s growing prosperity leads to a “paradox of progress” where effective governance runs into the complications of the youth bulge, rapid urbanization, inadequate infrastructure, poor public health, severe environmental degradation, and exclusionary identity politics. Nowhere is this dynamic more evident than in India’s megacities.

    Megacity Mania

    By 2035, the NIC forecasts that more than three-fifths of the world’s population will live in urban areas, an approximate 7-percentage point increase from 2016. This means that an overwhelming majority of the world’s projected population of 8.8 billion (a 20 percent increase from today) will reside in cities. By this time India will have become the world’s most populous country with 1.5 billion people, almost half of whom (42.1 percent) will be urban dwellers; the subcontinent may have three of the world’s 10 biggest cities and 10 of its top 50.

    The challenge of megacities (measured at 10 million or more) is enormous. Again from the NIC report:

    “Although megacities often contribute to national economic growth, they also spawn sharp contrasts between rich and poor and facilitate the forging of new identities, ideologies, and movements. South Asia’s cities are home to the largest slums in the world, and growing awareness of the economic inequality they exemplify could lead to social unrest. As migrants from poorer regions move to areas with more opportunities, competition for education, employment, housing, or resources may stoke existing ethnic hatred, as has been the case in parts of India.”

    As Katherine Boo so memorably recorded, slums like Annawadi, adjacent to Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, are scenes of intense human drama and immense tragedy. Slums can also overwhelm the capacity of local governments. From Google Earth you can see how Mumbai’s slums have altered the symmetry of the airport layout, with one arm of Terminal 2 stunted to account for the protruding tent city. These slums present a unique security threat, providing potential access for terrorists seeking to capitalize on the high-visibility and strategic value of Mumbai’s airport.

    And with rising urbanization comes increased pollution. The NIC reports that South Asia already has 15 of the world’s 25 most polluted cities, and more than 20 cities in India alone have air quality worse than Beijing’s. By 2035, air pollution is projected to be the top cause of environmentally related deaths worldwide. The incredible levels of Delhi’s air pollution already alter the daily lives and life spans of its citizens.

    Traffic on Delhi’s beltways – a snarling slow-moving parade of two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers (in addition to the occasional horse-drawn cart) – leaves one bleary-eyed and sniffling. Many days the air quality index (AQI) is “hazardous,” meaning that conditions causing “serious aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly” and “serious risk of respiratory effects in general population.” In order to curb pollution, the Supreme Court has intervened to enforce an odd-even system wherein daily vehicle-use is segregated based on license plate numbers.

    These new urban centers also serve as hotbeds for religious movements. For example, the NIC categorizes India’s Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism, as a “predominantly urban phenomenon.” In support, the report cites Shiv Sena – the most radical Hindutva political party – which has governed Mumbai for several decades. The future could see growing support for sectarian elements and the potential for violence in efforts to enforce cultural homogeneity in the community. For India, which still has fresh scars from Partition, this is not an idle threat. To borrow from Shiv Visvanathan, the “silences of Partition” could give rise to new and unpredictable voices. In measuring norms of democracy and tolerance, the NIC cautions that the world will look to see how India “tames its Hindu nationalist impulses.” Given India’s civilizational influence, the most attentive audience will be its neighbors.

    Limited War, Unlimited Consequences

    Since its founding modern India has struggled with securing its periphery – the frontier arch extending from the headwaters and tributaries of the Indus River to those of the Brahmaputra. In turn, India’s national security policy has focused on the immediate threat from Pakistan, volatility in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, and a lurking China peering over the Himalayas.

    The NIC counsels that Pakistan, unable to match India’s economic prowess, will seek other methods to maintain even a “semblance of balance.” The risk of conflict with Pakistan must be understood within a greater trend toward interstate conflict due to diverging interests among major powers, ongoing terrorist threats, continued instability in weak states, and the spread of lethal and disruptive technologies. According to the NIC report:

    “Future conflicts will increasingly emphasize the disruption of critical infrastructure, societal cohesion, and basic government functions in order to secure psychological and geopolitical advantages, rather than the defeat of enemy forces on the battlefield through traditional military means.”

    Weaker parties may resort to asymmetric warfare and surrogate attacks, a form of limited war, but with the potential for unlimited consequences in the case of nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

    Indeed, New Delhi has struggled with finding the balance between “confrontation” and “engagement” with Islamabad, to paraphrase Srinath Raghavan in his keen contribution to Shaper Nations. In 2016 we witnessed a re-occurrence of this dynamic in Kashmir. India accused Pakistan of supporting incursions over the Line of Control (LOC), including by Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a designated terrorist organization. In turn, New Delhi allegedly engaged in “surgical strikes” against Pakistani forces in Kashmir. Most recently, Modi signaled the terms for future engagement: “Pakistan must walk away from terror if it wants to walk towards dialogue with India.” The subcontinent’s security dilemma, however, may not allow for such tightrope finesse.

    The blurring of war and peace in South Asia may lead to potentially catastrophic violence. The NIC report predicts that Pakistan will seek to develop a credible nuclear deterrent by expanding its nuclear arsenal and delivery means, including short-range, “battlefield” nuclear weapons and a sea-based option, which lower the threshold for nuclear use. In one of its future mock scenarios, the NIC forecasts a “mushroom cloud in a desert in South Asia” – a nuclear exchange between Delhi and Islamabad – the first nuclear conflict since 1945.

    In a more positive frame, the NIC tributes India with being the region’s “greatest hope” to drive regional trade and development. As part of a broader effort to assert its role as the predominant regional power, the NIC predicts that New Delhi will expand its orbit by offering neighboring countries – Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Burma – a stake in India’s economic growth through development assistance and increased connectivity to India’s economy. In Afghanistan, New Delhi has sought to foster a direct and productive relationship, having spent more than $2 billion on economic cooperation.

    For China relations, the picture is complex. India must carry the burden of having an irredentist great power on its northern border. New Delhi is still recovering from shock of the 1962 war. Despite Indian objections, China is continuing to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. According to the NIC, China’s actions and indifference for India’s interests are driving New Delhi’s to balance and hedge. The strain in the bilateral relationship is further aggravated by Beijing’s position in world governing bodies.

    Seat at the Table

    Unsurprisingly India is seeking an expanded role in international institutions to match its increasing presence on the world stage. For example, New Delhi would like a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a club of countries that contributes to non-proliferation by controlling access to nuclear technology. This is consistent with the NIC’s finding that states, in an attempt to gain new privileges, will seek to adjust the hierarchy in existing institutions.

    New Delhi is growing increasingly frustrated with Beijing’s blocking of India’s seat at the table of global governance. However, necessary reform of international institutions to reflect a new distribution of power is unlikely given conflicting interests among member states. The NIC foresees the exercise of veto power by key players:

    “Competing interests among major and aspiring powers will limit formal international action in managing disputes, while divergent interests among states in general will prevent major reforms of the UN Security Council’s membership. Many agree on the need to reform the UN Security Council, but prospects for consensus on membership reform are dim.”

    During this struggle, international norms and institutions may stagnate and decay. Joseph Nye warns that the U.S. may turn inward with a corresponding loss in global public goods. The global community may lose what my graduate professor Bob Keohane described as gains in cooperation, efficiency and interdependence from regimes developed over the course of the last century. A devolvement to regional bodies, spheres of influence, and improvised crisis-management will create new costs and uncertainty.

    One result of this 21st century disorder will be the strengthening of U.S.-India relations. The NIC characterizes India as “an increasingly important factor in the region as geopolitical forces begin to reshape its importance to Asia” and predicts that the United States and India “will grow closer than ever in their history.” Some of the foreign policy landmarks of former U.S. President Barack Obama’s legacy reflect this convergence: his announcement of U.S. support for India’s permanent UNSC seat; the decoupling of Pakistan from the U.S.-India relationship; and the U.S. backing of Delhi’s inclusion in the NSG despite earlier conflict related to nuclear proliferation. Indeed, India and the United States, as the world’s two largest democracies, will be key architects for building a future based on liberal values related to civil, political, and human rights.

    A State of Motion

    India faces significant challenges in moving forward to achieve its full potential. As the NIC observes, the country sits at the vanguard of global trends related to world trade, urbanization, environmental impact, terrorism, inter-state conflict, religious identity, and international governance. India must be prepared to shape its destiny, not be a passive participant in its “tryst with destiny.” The future of world politics requires an active and assertive India.

    Much like with the geopolitical landscape, construction continues here in Aerocity. Laborers, migrants from dry villages of the Gangetic plane and abandoned Himalayan hill stations, new megacity residents, enter each day to realize the promise of 21st century India. Swaying cranes, swinging shovels, rumbling bulldozers, Aerocity is in constant motion, kicking dust into the air, another layer in the fog above Delhi. When the jackhammer pauses, I put down the NIC report and look upward, in search of the sky.
     
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  2. Indx TechStyle

    Indx TechStyle Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Abu Dhabi Global Market & GIFT SEZ take bilateral cooperation to next level[​IMG]This collaboration would go long way in providing institutions located at both the centres to expand in different regions.
     
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    Indx TechStyle Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Karnataka may build new city to decongest Bengaluru[​IMG]Urban development minister R Roshan Baig told reporters on Tuesday that the city will be developed on 11,000 acres of abandoned mining land in Kolar Gold Fields.
     
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    Indx TechStyle Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Honeywell bets on smart cities for growth[​IMG]
     
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    Indx TechStyle Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Shimla smart city: Proposals worth Rs 2,906 crore prepared[​IMG]A sum of Rs 1,280 crore will be spent for retrofitting of circular roads and three transit corridors in the state capital.
     
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  6. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    "The Centre’s Smart City Mission means big business for companies in the housing, energy and transport segments. We shortlist likely winners"

    “The future of India lies in its villages,” said Mahatma Gandhi. Self-reliant villages formed a sound basis for just, equitable and non-violent order, he believed. Decades later, his ardent follower Narendra Modi thinks otherwise. He is pinning hopes on building a better India through ‘smarter’ urban cities.

    About 25-30 people are expected to migrate every minute from the rural areas to the cities in search of better livelihood and lifestyles. By 2050, about 843 million people are expected to reside in the urban areas — accounting for about 50 per cent of the overall population.

    The Smart City Mission of the Centre is part of the overall game plan to accommodate the massive urbanisation that is expected in the future — by modernising the existing mid-sized cities.

    What is a smart city?
    ‘Smart City’ is a relatively new concept. While there is no specific way to define it, the most popular is from Frost and Sullivan. The research and consulting company defines Smart Cities as those built on smart and intelligent solutions and technology that lead to at least five of the following smart objectives — smart energy, smart building, smart mobility, smart healthcare, smart infrastructure, smart technology, smart governance, smart education and smart citizen.

    Smart energy, for instance, could be introduced using digital technology for optimal management of demand-supply situations or theft detection. Smart building, in turn, controls aspects such as lighting and temperature in an energy-efficient way through automated infrastructure.

    As recently as in 2011, there were no smart cities in the world. However, there will be 26 of them by 2026, according to Frost and Sullivan estimates. Beijing, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney and Amsterdam will be among them, while there will be none from India. Yes, you read it right, none.

    Indian cities have got a long way to go before they qualify as ‘Smart Cities’; may be another 15-20 years. The Indian government’s Smart City Mission (SCM), which is essentially a five-year game plan, is actually just one baby step towards forming Smart Cities in the real sense.

    However, the good news is that the SCM is already gathering steam. Round 3 of the “competition”, as it is called — which recently invited proposals from various cities – will soon short-list 40 more cities,taking the overall tally to 100 cities.

    Investment boom
    The Centre proposes to develop 100 smart cities over the next five years with overall budgetary plan of about ₹1,00,000 crore. It will be investing ₹100 crore every year for the next five years in each of the short-listed 100 cities.

    Additionally, it will spend nearly ₹50,000 crore under the AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) scheme over the next five years.

    Its investments — which are just the tip of the iceberg — will be routed through special purpose vehicles (SPV), floated in each of these cities. On an average, it currently holds about 20 per cent in such SPVs, for the 60 short-listed cities.

    Another 80 per cent of funding will come from the State government, PPP (Public Private Partnership), existing Central or State schemes, loans and other sources. In all, about ₹5,00,000 crore of project investments is expected from SCM, according to Jones Lang Lasalle — opening a door of big opportunity for the private sector.

    Most of the projects, about 85 per cent, are area-centred projects. They focus on local area issues instead of implementing it throughout the city. As per the Ministry of Urban Development, ₹1,30,000 crore worth of projects have been awarded and are invarious stages of implementation.

    A cursory look at the project plans of 60 cities shows that the plan content varies drastically with the needs of cities. For instance, in Ahmedabad, it’s largely about township development, while NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Corporation) fixes the niggling power issues. While Pune focusses on transport, Raipur looks toward developing local market.

    Moreover, while some are greenfield projects, others are retrofits. However, there is some method in the madness. Basic amenities such as housing, water, electricity, transport as well as infrastructure remain the major focus. For the sake of analysis, we will classify projects into housing, transport, energy, technology & infrastructure and water & waste management.

    For the benefit of investors, we have looked at the nature of SCM projects in major cities and identified listed entities that could benefit from it.

    Housing
    Housing is the biggest opportunity emanating from SCM. For cities of Surat, Ahmedabad, Thane, Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur and Bhubaneshwar, it is the single largest project. However, the nature of projects differs. While in places like Surat, the focus is on affordable housing, in Indore, it is about slum redevelopment.

    The relatively better-off cities of Ahmedabad and Thane focus more on township development to accommodate more people into the city. In Chandigarh, it’s a mixed bag with about ₹4,000 crore going towards property development — residential, office, retail and hospitality.

    With 40 more cities expected to get qualified for Smart City funding, the opportunity for residential housing is huge. Moreover, improved urbanisation will result in more people moving into the city, triggering demand for more houses.

    Moreover, the ‘satellite towns’ around these Smart Cities will be a good opportunity to develop affordable housing. With the recent Budget doling out ‘infrastructure status’ to affordable housing projects, many real estate players are jumping on the bandwagon.

    Godrej Properties is our preferred choice in this segment. It has pan-India presence and has developed properties in many of the Smart Cities, including Ahmedabad, Kalyan-Dombivali and Thane.

    Moreover, it is looking at affordable housing projects, which could benefit from SCM initiatives. Not the least, with a reputed brand name and good execution skills, it has the capability to bag key SCM projects.

    Energy
    Many of the cities have taken up energy-based projects in a big way to address power shortages. NDMC is looking at spending about ₹1,500 crore in building smart grid for efficient energy management. It is also investing into alternate energy by building 40-MW solar power plants at a cost of ₹430 crore.

    Belagavi (erstwhile Belgaum) is also betting big on alternative energy. It is investing about ₹200 crore each into solar rooftop panelling and wind power generation to generate power of 30 MW each.

    It also plans to lay underground cables worth ₹300 crore and install smart meters to ensure two-way communication between the meter and the central system — for efficient monitoring and billing. About 131 million smart meters are to be installed across the country by 2021, according to Government estimates.

    Many of the cities, including Raipur, are installing SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), which will gather data in real time from remote locations to enable central control of equipment and monitoring of conditions. Relatively better-off Chennai is looking at cutting power costs by installing street light monitoring system (worth ₹250 crore) across the city.

    Siemens and Honeywell Automation are our recommended bets in the energy space. Siemens is a global player in building smart cities over the last 10 years, with New York and Vienna being prime examples. It has already floated a consortium with global technology vendors to bid for Smart City projects in India. Moreover, it is business as usual for the company. Under the R-APDRP (Restructured-Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme) of the Government of India, Siemens has been installing Smart Grid solutions in several cities in India for many years now.

    Honeywell Automation, which globally earns half of its revenue from energy-efficient products and related activities, is another player that is expected to benefit from SCM projects relating to energy. Opportunities in energy are diverse — from service and asset management, software development and installation of equipment. These two players, with diverse experience, are better poised to bag the opportunity.

    Transport
    Transport is another big focus area for many cities, including Pune, Raipur, Thane and Great Warangal. SCM projects relating to transport broadly address issues of high travel demand, last-mile connectivity, traffic management and transit. Investments into development of back-bone infrastructure and transport systems are also common.

    Pune is looking at faster transit by investing ₹210 crore into BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), while another ₹500 crore goes towards developing back-bone infrastructure. It is investing heavily towards roads and road widening as well as into buying of 100 electric buses.

    Thane, on the other hand, is looking at launching a new railway station, improving road junctions as well as providing multi-modal facilities at various junctions in the city. Great Warangal, in turn, is looking at redevelopment of state bus stands and multi-level parking.

    Also, to reduce the carbon footprint, many cities are introducing electric rickshaws (e-rickshaws). As against the regular autorickshaws that run on CNG or petrol, e-rickshaws will be powered by batteries charged from solar power.

    Also, the focus is to manage high travel demand by promoting non-motorised transport (NMT) by making footpaths and spaces for riding bicycles. Coimbatore, for instance, is investing ₹50 crore in the bicycle sharing system. Chennai and Bhubaneshwar are investing heavily into intelligent traffic management system. This will monitor and regulate traffic on a real-time basis using video surveillance and incidence management and simulations.

    Some of the offbeat beneficiaries of this could be the bicycle manufacturers. In Singapore, already, people cycle their way to nearby railway stations and neighbourhood centres, which is the way forward for aspiring Smart Cities. Players such as Atlas Cycles and Tube Investments are well-entrenched in the bicycle market.

    Water and Waste management
    Smart waste management could be classified as that relating to waste handling, its sorting and segregation, transportation and its disposal. Sensor-based collection, for instance, helps identify the status of bins and optimise pick-up routes and schedules. Automated waste collection systems, in turn, reduce the need for manpower.

    Indian cities going the smart way are focussing either on waste handling or its intelligent transportation. Lucknow, for instance, is spending about ₹300 crore towards sewerage lines while Bhagalpur invests another ₹120 crore towards building an underground sewerage system. Many others are going for RFID tagging of waste collection vehicles while cities such as Kanpur are spending a little bit on building public toilets.

    In the case of water, SCM project opportunities could be from building water sources, its storage and purification, distribution and its discharge & treatment. Smart water metersinstalled at the consumer level will help detect usage levels and price it according to the extent of usage. A ghost pipe detection systemwill detect theft.

    NDMC is spending about ₹200 crore towards water and waste-water management, while Kanpur is investing ₹70 crore towards water metering and strengthening of its existing water supply network.

    Many of the smart cities are also building infrastructure to manage storm water, rain water harvesting as well as lake rejuvenation. Thane, for instance, is spending ₹240 crore towards lake and waterfront development, while Faridabad is spending ₹45 towards revitalising its Badkhal lake.

    Thermax, which provides water and waste-water treatment plants including recycling, is expected to be a major beneficiary from the above mentioned projects. VA Tech Wabag, a market leader in water treatment solutions in industrial water, desalination as well as waste and drinking water, is another of our favourites.

    Technology and Infrastructure
    ICT (information and communications technology) plays a critical role in the building of Smart cities. According to Nasscom estimates, anywhere from 10 to 15 per cent of the total project investments or about $30-40 billion is the opportunity for software companies over the next five years.

    For instance, in the case of citizen services, technology plays an integral role by providing access to online citizen engagement and participatory process. Provision of Wi-Fi services at public places and online service delivery are other ways. Moreover, ICT plays a key role in improving city governance by building city command and operations centres. Many of the cities have lined up huge investments in this space.

    Since software development is crucial for remotely controlling water and power systems, NIIT Technologies is our favourite in this space with its specialities in digital analytics and infrastructure management services. It recently launched ‘geodesign’ , a Geographic Information System framework for planning smart cities in India. For more details on NIIT Technologies, see ‘Firm Calls’ page.

    Jabalpur and many other cities are looking at significant investment in optic-fibre cable. Electricity companies also extensively use optical fibre cables for monitoring and control purposes. Sterlite Technologies, which has a 40 per cent market share in the domestic optic fibre/cable space, is expected to benefit from such projects.

    Infrastructure is another big opportunity that involves diverse activities — road and flyover building, development of city centre, lake development, river bridges and so on.

    NBCC, the only public sector Infrastructure player, is expected to be a major beneficiary, eyeing 15-20 of the 100 smart city projects in the country. Over the next five years, it is expected to increase its order book levels to ₹1,00,000 crore (it is ₹70,000 crore today), growing its revenues at the rate of 25-30 per cent annually. Moreover, players like Siemens and Larsen & Toubro too are expected to benefit from a range of infrastructure-based projects.

    Source :Thehindu
     
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  7. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Presently, 16 public-private partnership Smart City projects worth Rs 1327.67 crore are being implemented and 36 PPP projects worth Rs 3925.71 crore are at various stages of tendering
     
  8. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    New lexicon of Indian cities: Three years of urban renaissance, unfolding across the country

    When the nagar panchayat of the sleepy town of Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan with a population of 1,18,473 woke up to the need to find out where it stands on revenue collection and resource management, the best way was to get its credit rating done. It got a rating of ‘A’ in March this year which is five notches above the investment grade of BBB-.<HH>


    Little known Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh and Belagavi in Karnataka besides Cuttack in Odisha and Ranchi in Jharkhand were among the 200 cities and towns that got similarly rated and secured investment grade. New Delhi Municipal Council, Navi Mumbai and Pune lead the pack with the highest grade of AA+.

    About 20 cities are now gearing up to issue municipal bonds to mobilise resources for their infrastructure development initiatives under new urban missions launched during the last two years. This gives a glimpse of the urban transformation taking place in the country now.

    There is more to substantiate this urban renaissance. Dibrugarh in Assam, Begusarai in Bihar, Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh and Bahraich in UP are among the 500 cities and towns that are now working on five year action plans, a first of its kind in our country, to ensure basic urban infrastructure – like ensuring water taps to all urban households besides enabling water supply at the normative 135 litres per head per day and expanding sewerage and drainage networks, non-motorised transport and public spaces under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). Project investment of Rs 78,000 crore is being made under this mission with central assistance of Rs 37,000 crore.

    Taking urban planning and execution to a new level, the pilgrim towns of Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) and Ajmer (Rajasthan) and the tourism destination of Agra (UP) are among 60 cities vigorously pursuing five year Smart City Plans with an investment of about Rs 2,000 crore each. In a new feature, these plans are being executed by Special Purpose Vehicles incorporated under the Companies Act of 2013, to ensure quick decision making and timely execution of projects. The 60 cities so far selected for financing these plans have proposed an investment of Rs 1,33,680 crore for which central assistance of Rs 30,000 crore is being provided.

    AMRUT and chosen smart cities account for over 70% of the country’s urban population and are now pursuing well documented and comprehensive infrastructure development action plans, ending the project based and ad hoc approach followed till recently.

    Our country has a rich legacy of culture and heritage and we need to protect and revive the same. Heritage related infrastructure is being developed in Amritsar, Mathura, Varanasi, Gaya, Dwarka, Warangal (Telangana) and Vellankini (Tamil Nadu) etc under the Heritage Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY).

    Over 2,500 cities and towns have so far got approved construction of 18.75 lakh affordable houses for urban poor in a short span of two years, with a total investment of Rs 1.04 lakh crore, as against the 13.80 lakh houses sanctioned during 2004-14 at less than one third of investment.

    Competition among cities and towns to do better than others is now the new normal. 98 cities and towns have been selected through several rounds of competition for smart city development. This spirit has resulted in building over 33 lakh individual household toilets so far, out of the target of 66 lakh toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission (urban). Over 600 cities and towns have declared themselves Open Defecation Free and their claims have been independently verified.

    In the latest Swachh Survekshan, Indore has toppled Mysuru to emerge as the cleanest city in the country. Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have emerged as the real movers and shakers in the latest swachh rankings, in an indication of the churning going on in new urban India.

    Under the ‘bottom up’ planning introduced as a part of the paradigm shift in our approach to urban development, reversing the hitherto Delhi driven ‘top down’ approach, states/UTs and cities were involved in formulating the design and guidelines of the new urban missions launched during the last two years. About 2.50 crore citizens participated in the formulation of smart city plans. This Team India approach has resulted in approving an investment of about Rs 4.50 lakh crore for improving urban infrastructure in a short time.

    Cities being the prime engines of economic growth, ease of doing business, particularly in respect of construction permits and approvals, needs to be improved. Delhi and Mumbai have moved on to online approvals, reducing the time taken for according approvals from about one year to 30 days. Another 50 cities with population of million plus each are set to follow suit.

    Encouraged by the new buoyancy of spirit among city governments, we are now focusing on transformative urban reforms. These are: ‘trust and verify’ approach under which birth and death certificates, permits for low risk construction and mutations are first issued and later verified; making land titling laws to end uncertainty about property titles; credit rating necessary for mobilisation of resources through municipal bonds; value capture financing to finance urban infra projects by capturing a share of increase in the value of assets further to public investment and professionalisation of municipal cadres through induction of technical talent necessary for effective urban planning.

    Indian cities are now shaking off the legacy of sloth and adopting a new lexicon. A good beginning has been made. Further consolidation will make a big difference to life in urban areas. City Liveability Index is the next logical move and will soon be rolled out.

    http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatime...ban-renaissance-unfolding-across-the-country/

    @PARIKRAMA @nair @Abingdonboy
     
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  9. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    AMRUT can transform urban reforms

    India’s tryst with comprehensive urban reforms started with the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act in 1992 to empower cities. Thirteen years later, in December 2005, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was launched, scripting a comprehensive agenda for seven years through 23 reforms (13 mandatory and 10 optional), to be implemented by States and urban local bodies (ULBs).

    But an evaluation of JNNURM in 2013 found States and ULBs unable to stick to reforms, delays in release of additional central assistance and manifold hindrances to project completion. Then in June 2015, the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) programme was launched by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), which included 11 reforms dotted with 54 milestones, to be implemented by all 500 mission cities in four years.

    Five major reforms
    Recently, MoUD modified the AMRUT reform matrix, creating a template that enables States and cities to go beyond incrementalism and implement transformational changes over three years. The template spells out five major reforms, such as ‘Trust and verify’, which will have 40 per cent weightage, ‘Professionalisation of municipal cadre’ (25 per cent), ‘Land titling law’ (15 per cent), and ‘Credit rating’ and ‘Value capture finance’ (10 per cent each).

    The takeaway from JNNURM and the initial phase of AMRUT was that comprehensive and overarching reforms are difficult to pull off in one big sweep. So AMRUT alters the approach in two ways: First, the number of reforms aimed at has been reduced and separated from project assistance. Second, shifted focus from penalisation to incentivisation.

    AMRUT now sets aside 10 per cent of funds for incentives to be given based on self-assessment by ULBs and corroborated by State-level high-powered steering committees based on the report of independent monitoring agencies.

    While AMRUT cascades the autonomy to design, monitor and approve projects to states and civic bodies, it also persuades local stakeholders to put more skin in the game by participating in execution.

    And the corpus of the Reforms Incentive Fund, accessible to those adhering to mandates and milestones, has been increased six-fold to ₹3,300 per annum for the next three years.

    Focus on impact
    The Centre is also increasingly looking at impact-oriented urban programmes where States and ULBs take more responsibility for implementation and sustaining urban infrastructure. So traditional grant-based programmes are being embedded with impact and outcome milestones.

    Under AMRUT, professionalisation of municipal cadre, land titling law and policy for value capture finance are State prerogatives and have far-reaching impact on the local landscape. And all this comes at a time when expectations of citizens on livability standards across cities are growing fast.

    History shows that reforms succeed when stakeholders take the ownership. That’s why the Economic Survey last fiscal reiterated ‘cooperative and competitive federalism’ as India’s unavoidable future. It argues for cities to be entrusted with responsibilities, empowered with resources, and encumbered by accountability to transform into vehicles of competitive federalism. In that context, AMRUT rightly puts states and ULBs in the driver’s seat.

    JNNURM was considered to have big city bias. AMRUT has cast the net wider, reaching all urban centres with a population of one lakh and more. Under the programme, the number of reforms expected from States and ULBs has decreased, but the number of cities expected to adhere to reforms have increased.

    While higher fund allocation to transform urban agenda is certainly a key part of the urban revival mission, there is a growing acknowledgement that cities that sustain themselves through enhanced revenues, less capital transfers, and efficient internal systems become the beacons of the new urban agenda.

    And above all, financing remains a multi-trillion-rupee question. A high-powered expert committee of the MoUD had in 2011 estimated total capital investments in urban infrastructure at about ₹39 lakh crore over 20 years. The Smart City Mission and AMRUT have outlays of ₹48,000 crore and ₹50,000 crore, respectively. That means humongous investments have to be mobilised.

    Earlier, several committees have elaborated upon various tax and non-tax revenue improvement measures for municipalities. Looking at the track record of urban reforms and estimates to fill service gaps, one of the recommendation relates to ULBs resorting to market borrowings (pooled finance, municipal bonds and institutional finance) and project execution mechanisms such as public-private partnerships and land-based financing instruments.

    The way ahead
    The ability to access alternative finance requires procedural reforms, changes in taxation and user charges, and appropriating a part of appreciation in the value of land. Two out of the five reforms under AMRUT relate to credit rating and value capture financing. Credit ratings have already begun for all AMRUT cities. Cities with investment grade rating will be encouraged to float municipal bonds and those below the rating will continue working on improving their ratings.

    The Economic Survey this year made a strong case for empowering ULBs financially. Data show municipalities that generate more resources deliver more basic services. It makes a strong case for empowering cities to levy all feasible taxes, make the most of their existing tax base, and look at alternative options such as issuance of municipal bonds.

    Under the new AMRUT reforms, in the initial year, States are also expected to formulate value capture financing policy, tools and rules for all cities with a million plus population. In the subsequent years, they will have to operationalise and implement it.

    The list of reforms needed to overhaul cities is exhaustive and the determination of ULBs to walk the talk varies significantly. But by prioritising five core areas, AMRUT sharpens focus in the right areas. The Reform Incentive Fund also stokes competitive federalism.

    The writer is a director and practice leader-urban at CRISIL infrastructure advisory

    http://m.thehindubusinessline.com/o...orm-urban-reforms-in-india/article9716990.ece

    @GSLV Mk III @Indx TechStyle @anant_s @Ankit Kumar 001

    Looks like lots of reforms are happening in urban planning.
     
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  10. GSLV Mk III

    GSLV Mk III Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Good things are finally happening in even the smallest cities.
     

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