Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said an urban renaissance was taking place in India with increased realisation among the people about culture, tradition, rule of law, transparency, accountability and innovation.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of Smart City Expo India here, Naidu said, “The renaissance is about culture, tradition, rule of law, following of civic rules, accountability. You pay taxes and get the services,” he said.
He said that without people’s participation, nothing can be achieved and that everyone has to perform his or her duty.
“Smart city means livable city. For a smart city, you need a smart leader, smart vision, smart implementation and smart execution. You need smart leadership at different levels. Unless people cooperate, you cannot have a smart city,” Naidu said.
He explained there cannot be a smart city if there are unnecessary obstructions or destruction of nature. Naidu said the mission of 100 smart cities in the country will act as a lighthouse to inspire, encourage and motivate other cities to achieve excellence.
Pointing out that 65 per cent of the country’s population is below 35 years, Naidu said India has a huge demographic divide and the youth of the country must reform, perform and transform the nation.
Naidu said India’s urban development had been neglected for years but a new awareness change was taking place and new initiatives were taken up by the present and the previous governments.
The vice president suggested some measures for building sustainable smart cities keeping in mind architecture, culture and nature for a better future like pedestrian paths, cycle tracks, rain water harvesting, use of solar energy, recycling of urban water, among others.
Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said Smart City Mission, one of the flagship programmes of the prime minister, was following a three-pronged approach poverty alleviation, affordable housing and cleanliness on the first level, water supply and ease of living on the second and third levels respectively.
He said presently 433 smart city projects worth Rs 7,958 crore have been completed in the country. Furthermore, works for over 800 projects worth Rs 32,500 crore are going on, he added.
Participating at the event, Governor of South Australia Hieu Van le AC said smart city mission is a giant step towards improving the quality of life for millions in the country. Through the use of technology, information and data, improved services can be provided to the citizens.
Rajasthan Housing and Urban Development Minister Shrichand Kripalani said the 100 smart cities will give a new shape to the country.
In Rajasthan, smart city projects worth Rs 784 crore are going on in four cities – Jaipur, Udaipur, Kota and Ajmer.
Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Arun Chaturvedi, Jaipur Mayor Ashok Lahoty, among others attended the inaugural function of the three-day event in which companies, experts, conceptual researchers and other delegates from 20 countries are participating to discuss solutions to challenges faced by cities today in terms of efficiency, urban planning, social and economic development in the global era.
(With inputs from PTI)