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Smart Cities Mission UPSC NOTE


  • The Smart Cities Mission (SCM), launched in 2015 by the NDA-1 government, aimed to develop 100 Indian cities.

  • The mission lacked a clear definition of a "smart city," acknowledging the concept's variation across contexts.

Mission Components:

  • Area-based development: Focused on redevelopment, retrofitting, and greenfield projects.

  • Pan-city solutions: Utilized ICT (information and communication technology) for e-governance, waste management, and other areas.

  • Funding: ₹2 lakh crore (around $26 billion) allocated, with public-private partnerships (PPP) encouraged.

  • Governance: Special purpose vehicles (SPVs) led by bureaucrats or MNC representatives bypassed traditional city governance structures.

Current Status (as of April 2024):

  • Project completion is lagging:

  • Only 5,533 of 8,033 projects are completed.

  • 400 projects in 10 cities are unlikely to meet the June 2024 deadline.

  • Total outlay has fallen to ₹1.68 lakh crore (16% less than projected).

  • PPP funding is minimal (around 5%).

Reasons for Shortcomings:

  • Flawed Selection Process: Selecting 100 diverse cities ignored the dynamic nature of Indian urbanization.

  • Exclusionary Approach: Projects targeted only a small portion of each city, neglecting larger development needs.

  • Inadequate Funding: ₹1.68 lakh crore falls far short of the estimated $1.2 trillion required for Indian cities by 2030.

  • Unaligned Governance Model: SPVs contradicted the 74th Constitutional Amendment, leading to objections and a top-down approach.

  • Project Incongruence: Projects in some towns did not reflect local needs or budgets.

  • Displacement and Disruption: Slum dwellers, street vendors, and urban commons were negatively affected by the projects.

  • Increased Flooding: Infrastructure projects disrupted natural water channels, worsening flooding in some towns.


  • The Smart Cities Mission has faced significant challenges, including flawed planning, inadequate funding, and a top-down governance model.

  • These shortcomings have limited the mission's impact and raised concerns about displacement and environmental consequences. 

  • With the current focus on other priorities, the future of the SCM in India remains uncertain.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Smart Cities Mission UPSC NOTE
Smart Cities Mission UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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