States select the criteria for selection, ranking of Smart cities
Smart cities have already garnered a lot of attention and popularity, in the long run they will be able to accelerate the real-estate development of the earmarked region. The initiative for creating 100 smart cities has achieved a major breakthrough as the criteria for the selection and ranking of cities and on urban governance reforms and innovative financing models has been broadly agreed upon. The intense discussions were recently concluded at the two-day 'Consultation Workshop of States and Stakeholders on Smart Cities', which was organised by the Urban Development Ministry. Municipal commissioners and Principal secretaries from around 25 states took part in the discussions along with several urban experts and industry representatives.
The ranking of the cities for the final selection, will be done one suggested the parameters and which will have weightages like institutional systems and capacities (25 % weightage), self-financing ability (25% ), existing service levels and further plan of action for next three years (25 %), quality of vision document (10 %) and past track record in implementing reforms (15 %). The states have also suggested two sets of reforms separately for metropolitan and small cities, online service delivery, increased FAR (Floor area ratio) norms with transparent policies, land monetisation and progress towards e-governance.
Some suggestions that were offered on reforms in urban governance are integrated GIS-based Master Plans, including for land use, sanitation, mobility, disaster risk management and climate change, digital connectivity, fixed tenures for mayors and municipal officials, policy reforms, improving revenues through 100% collection of taxes and user charges as well as credit rating of urban local bodies.
On the financing front the states suggested that along with PPP model an the option of EPC (Engineering Procurement Contract) should be offered. Also user-fee based concessions to improve private sector participation and government support for making the projects viable for investors, unbundling of services to make the projects investment attractive, creation of a pooled fund with the support of World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Sovereign Funds, Pension Funds, and credit rating of cities. Besides this, the states have also advocated some policy changes to make urban projects viable for private investors.