Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said Rs.50,000 crore have been earmarked to develop 100 smart cities in the country, with each selected city to get annual central assistance of Rs.100 crore for five years.
Naidu, the union urban development minister, was speaking at an international seminar on sustainable and inclusive urban development organised by the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, the Institute for Human Development (IHD) and Department of Urban and Regional Planning of the University of Florida here.
"Special emphasis will be given to citizen participation while developing these smart cities. To recast the urban landscape of the country and make lives of urban people comfortable is the need of the hour," he said.
Stating that "sustainable and inclusive urban development is the main focus of the government and there is a need to go for reforms in a big way", he said, "rapid urbanisation poses grave challenges for sustainability of the human race".
"To ensure that urban development is sustainable, the government is going to promote rainwater harvesting, replace green buildings with conventional buildings, replace conventional power with solar power, replace conventional lights with LED lights for conserving energy and create community toilets to ensure access to toilets for all," the minister said.
Stating that "Smart cities need smart leadership", Naidu said, "The smart city movement was classified as a mode of making life more comfortable for everyone, connecting the smart city initiative with the inclusive development mindset."
"Good urban life also requires housing, office space and good transportation. Biggest challenge in the country has been one of creating space for cities and availability of land," NITI Aayog vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said at the event.
Naidu also launched the online e-learning portal for Clean India which would impart training and education to field functionaries and workers involved in helping realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream to ensure a clean India.