Microsoft recently embarked on a collaboration with the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) whereby it is supposed to design several technological solutions and applications with the intention to make Surat a Smart City. The association will look to provide citizens in Surat quicker, efficient and proper information on transport, education, health, tourism, water, recreation, security and related services. Microsoft is presently carrying out a project named CityNext and it has selected 13 cities for that. Surat is one of those cities along with Paris, Auckland and Washington. Neeraj Gill, the general manager of public sector for Microsoft India, has stated that the organization has already set up a dashboard for the SMC.
With the help of the dashboard the authorities will be able to get customized views of various performance indicators that will give them a fair idea of how things are going. There will be information on particular areas such as complaints, status of various projects, health and others. One of the various solutions being offered in this case helps people stuck in traffic jams. For example let’s say that someone is stuck in a jam and there is no way to get out. There will be a smartphone app that could be used in such a situation to determine the exact location of one’s car.
Smart Cities’ plan needs to be finalised by December 2014
At the present moment the Urban Development Ministry is still in the process of preparing the concept note for the Smart Cities project and the Prime Minister’s Office has set a deadline of December end to come up with the final presentation of the same. It is being said that the deadline has been set so that the process of starting work on the project can be initiated by the end of March 2015, which is the end of the financial year.
As things stand now, the Ministry may have to surrender majority of the budget of INR 6,274 crore that has been allotted for the project. Also in the pipeline is a new project that will act as the replacement of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. As per estimates made by a prominent media house of India, INR 800 crore from this allocation has been used for the purpose of urban transport and another INR 200 crore will be used by March. The present status of the project is such that the Ministry will not be able to use more than 33 per cent of the amount that had not been utilized in the last quarter.
Nagpur could pip Pune in race for being a Smart City
It seems that the increasing clout yielded by leaders from Nagpur in both Maharashtra and at the Centre could prove to be a decisive factor yet again as it looks set to be preferred over Pune in the race to become a Smart City. Incidentally, Pune is often thought to be the second Capital of Maharashtra but of late the metro rail for Nagpur has been sanctioned ahead of Pune and there is also a fairly strong call for an IIM to be set up in the city.
It has been stated by some officials in the urban development department of Maharashtra that in the first phase of the nationwide project only a few cities will be chosen. At the moment Nagpur has the backing of Nitin Gadkari and Devendra Fadnavis and this can swing the scale in its favour over competitors such as Pune. Right now the Urban Development Ministry is looking at a phased introduction of the project and this is the reason M Venkaiah Naidu is speaking to the elected representatives from various States.
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