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Mid-Tier Smart Cities in India

The recent boom in the growth of India’s Tier II cities, the ongoing development, and expansion of these cities, have made them attractive towards researchers, urban planners, and policy makers. Researchers focus not only the future prospects of these cities but also try to reveal the present dynamics across sectors of employment generation, changing governance landscape, infrastructural potential, and above the changing behaviour of city dwellers. In support of the dynamic nature of Indian urban landscape, McKinsey Global Institute stated that by 2030 nearly 590 million people will live in India’s cities, twice the population of present United States. At the same time, entrepreneurs’ are also looking for new investment destinations across India and Tier II cities are their first choice. Hence this is the high time to focus on straining the potentials of urban life and maximise the opportunities offered by small cities/ Tier II cities as well. The dream mission of Government of India named, Hundred Smart Cities, pays immense attention towards the development of Tier II cities. Though there is no universally accepted definition of smart city, this research still tries to define India’s own smart city where sustainability, resilience, and inclusiveness should be taken care of. ‘Smart Cities’ should be such that its dwellers are provided with infrastructure and services that instil confidence, comfort, safety, and security. These cities will not only develop and improve themselves but will also catalyse other cities to follow their path of development and become one of its own kind.

Hence the present research primarily focusses on the potentiality of the four Tier II cities, viz. Surat, Vishakhapatnam. Bhopal, and Patna based on the perspective of hundred smart cities mission. It discusses present situation, advantages and disadvantages of those cities to become as a ‘smart cities’ based on several relevant indicators. It is observed that unplanned urbanization will not only worsen urban decay and gridlock but also will lead to decline in the quality of life of citizens and create reluctance among investors to commit resources in these cities. Thus, at the end it also talks about serious key issues of the each city and the concerned government to manage its urbanisation and safeguard its dwellers. Considering the world wide example of smart cities, it is noted that real-time data pool and its accessibility is very important to optimize resource and energy. This data also helps to manage efficient governance. Thus the second focus of the present research is to develop a framework for each cities to look into the missing or inaccessible or unavailable data for the smart city indicators selected by Ministry of Urban Development.

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