Smart cities' dream- an analyst's view

Pratima Harigunani
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MUMBAI, INDIA: As Adil Zaidi, Director - Infrastructure Practice, EY observes it, it's good that India is also thinking of developing smart cities, but we have to tread carefully as nowhere in the world any country has thought of developing 100 smart cities.


"Most of the countries have either developed green field cities or have chosen for limited brown field expansion. Looking at the existing situation of our existing cities, it would be difficult to think of making brown field cities smart on such a big scale. Moreover, planning for smart cities requires good understanding of the existing infra system, which demands relatively accurate & integrated data and fairly competent planners and consultants having experience in developing smart cities. At present, we are not well equipped on both the aspects. Hence, as a pre-requisite, we need to - collate and consolidate data for select/priority cities/ULBs, may be five to six to start with, and analyze the gaps to build the story of smart cities. Considering poor financial health of ULBs/Agencies, funding for such humongous development remains a question mark."

He recommends that multi-lateral funding and country partnership model with countries like Japan and Singapore may be explored by the respective states not only for development but also to build capacities and knowledge transfer.

As to the existing red tapism, he reckoned that as the biggest hurdle in thinking of doing business in India and its good to see PM hitting the point.


"Clarity on information required to initiate business, along with defined accountability of officials will help long way in investors predicting their investments getting realized. Connecting all such requirements through a dashboard such as eBiz, is definitely a welcome step to build investor confidence. However, the actual growth will only reflect once the fundamental challenges of availability of land, labour related issues, multiple taxation are overcome through timely reforms in Land Acquisition Act, Labour Laws and Tax regime."