Government Extends Deadline of Smart Cities Mission till June 2024
The Indian government has extended the deadline for the Smart City Mission by one year, till June 2024. This decision was made after several states requested more time to complete the ongoing projects under this flagship mission. The Smart City Mission was launched on 25 June 2015, and 100 cities were selected for redevelopment through a two-stage competition from January 2016 to June 2018.
According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, as of 30 April, 5,700 projects (72 per cent) worth Rs 1.07 lakh crore (60 per cent) have been completed. However, officials claim that execution of such diverse and complex projects takes time since they are interdisciplinary and involve coordination between various government departments. Under this mission, projects have been undertaken in all areas of urban governance such as mobility, environment, public safety, disaster resilience, health, education, housing, water, sanitation and waste management.
The on-ground project execution began at least 18 months post city selection as the process of setting up specialized entities or special purpose vehicles (SPVs) and appointment of CEOs and other manpower took time. The mission deadline was initially set for June 2023, allowing all selected cities five years to complete the projects. However, some cities selected in the first round started projects before 2018.
The Ministry data show that 232 Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects worth Rs 15,006 crore have been taken up across 53 cities. The government has released approximately Rs 38,000 crore to 100 cities, and the state governments and municipal bodies have released nearly Rs 33,000 crore. Around 90 per cent of these funds have been utilized, and the allocation of Rs 8,000 crore in the current financial year is sufficient to meet the needs of ongoing projects.