Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday announced the first list of cities which are to be developed as 'Smart Cities' as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project.
These 20 cities are: Bhubaneswar (Odisha), Pune (Maharashtra), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Surat (Gujarat), Kochi (Kerala), Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Sholapur (Maharashtra), Davangere (Karnataka), Indore (Madhya Pradesh), New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC, Delhi), Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh), Belagavi (Karnataka), Udaipur (Rajasthan), Guwahati (Assam), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Ludhiana (Punjab), and Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh).
These cities were chosen from 98 cities shortlisted for the 'Smart Cities Mission'.
“The Smart City Challenge Competition was as rigorous and demanding as the civil services competition conducted by UPSC,” Venkaiah Naidu said while announcing the winners.
He said that the Smart City Plans had been prepared by the urban local bodies and the states, and asserted that the results of the competition revealed the unrecognised strength of the federal structure in our country.
“A total investment of Rs 50,802 crore has been proposed in the selected Smart Cities and towns during the five year period,” the minister said.
Naidu further said, a 'bottom up' approach had been the key planning principle under Smart City Mission and added that a total of 15.20 million (1.52 crore) citizens have participated in the preparation of smart city plans at various stages.
In terms of population, these 20 cities account for 3.54 crore people, he said.
"This announcement marks a paradigm shift in our approach to urban development in the country," said the minister.
Smart City Plans will demonstrate how integrated planning and smart technologies can deliver better quality of life.