Just 56% of Smart City Mission projects completed ahead of June 2023 deadline

On 25 June 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the government’s ambitious Smart Cities Mission (SCM). It aims to make 100 cities ‘smart’ by providing better infrastructure, housing for all and adequately developed open spaces.

More than seven years have passed and we are just nine months away from the mission’s deadline of June 2023. To find out how well projects are executed in these cities, business Line Looked at the figures.

Overall, over 56 per cent of the projects in these cities (4,436 out of 7,902 projects) have been completed as of September 23, 2022. This is as per the data available with SCM. However, these projects are not evenly distributed across cities.

For example, in Varanasi, almost all projects have been completed by July 8, 2022 (98 out of 104 projects). This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Kaushal Kishor in the Lok Sabha.

However, at the other end of the spectrum is Atal Nagar in Chhattisgarh, where only 3.8 per cent of the projects have been completed – two out of 53. Both Varanasi and Atal Nagar were selected for the SCM at the same time in September 2016. In 15 cities, more than 75 per cent work has been completed. But in 21 of them, the proportion of completed projects is less than 25 per cent.

We also looked at the 20 cities that were selected in the first round of the project. The best performers are Indore, Ahmedabad, Surat and Udaipur, where more than 80 per cent of the projects have been completed. But also on the list are Guwahati and Kochi, where project completion rates are 26 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

Project Completion vs Fund Utilization

However, according to the findings of the 17th Lok Sabha Standing Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs, between June 2018 and January 2021, there was a 576 percent increase in the completion of projects. At the same time, a recent report on smart cities by the Center for Financial Accountability (CFA), a think-tank, states that most cities have used only a small fraction of the available funds.

“Clever efforts have been made to build a high project completion rate by completing small/low-value projects, which take less time. In the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Urban Development (2020-21) on Demands for Grants (2021-22) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, this is clearly mentioned,” the CFA report said.

The report also states that the utilization of central funds is much higher than that of state funds.

“Varanasi, Surat, Agra, Chennai and Tumakuru are among the top 10 cities both in terms of project completion and funds utilisation,” the report said. The projects are completed, they are not in the top 10 in terms of utilization of funds.”

Published on

September 23, 2022


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