Government of India has released a list of 20 smart cities out of the 98 shortlisted for the 'Smart Cities Mission' as first step towards redeveloping urban area. These 20 cities will be the first to receive funds, thus kick-starting the process of developing them into 'smart cities'. The next two years will see the inclusion of 40 and 38 cities, respectively. Of the 98 cities and towns that five years down will graduate into smart cities, 24 are capital cities, another 24 are business and industrial centres, 18 are culture and tourism influenced areas, five are port cities and three are education and health care hubs.

A 'smart city' is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability. It is a city where information technology is the principal infrastructure and the basis for providing essential services to residents. There are many technological platforms involved, including but not limited to automated sensor networks and data centres.

The list of Shortlisted cities are:

1. Bhubaneshwar

2. Pune

3. Jaipur

4. Surat

5. Kochi

6. NDMC (New Delhi)

7. Ahmedabad

8. Jabalpur

9. Vizag

10. Solapur

11. Devangere

12. Indore

13. Coimbatore

14. Kakinada

15. Belgaum

16. Udaipur

17. Guwahati

18. Chennai

19. Ludhiana

20. Bhopal


These cities will be developed to have basic infrastructure such as assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation. Some of key features of Smart Cities are:

  1. Promoting mixed land use in area based developments
  2. Housing and inclusiveness 
  3. Creating walkable localities 
  4. Preserving and developing open spaces 
  5. Promoting a variety of transport options 
  6. Making governance citizen-friendly and cost effective 
  7. Giving an identity to the city 
  8. Applying Smart Solutions to infrastructure and services in area-based development 

The 20 cities in the first stage will get INR 2 billion (US$ 30 million) in 2015-16 and INR 1 billion (US$ 15 million) each year for the next three years, the total amounting to INR 5 billion (US$ 75 billion). Interestingly, the selection of the cities was done in transparent manner by allowing all 97 cities to submit their proposal for participation in "City Challenge". Ministry of Urban Development partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies to design and delivery of a Cities Challenge, through which Indian cities will compete for central government funding. The challenge marks the first time the Government of India has used a competitive framework to advance a major urban development mission and allocate its funding. Each city required to submit their Smart City Proposal, which should contain:

  • City Vision: Each city conveyed its own unique vision that reflects local context, its resources, and the priorities and aspirations of its citizens
  • Pan-City Initiative: Cities drew inspiration from smart solutions that incorporates the use of technology, information and data to improve services or results for citizens. The pan-city initiative must touch the lives of many, or potentially all, of its citizens
  • Area-Based Development Plan: This plan should transform an existing place within each city, creating an exemplar for other areas in the city, or across the country, to follow. Depending on local circumstances, cities may choose one of three approaches: retrofitting, redevelopment, or greenfield development
  • Public Consultantation: The plan should also outline the consultations held with the city residents and other stakeholders
  • Funding and Financing: The proposal for financing of the smart city plan including the revenue model to attract private participation

All 97 cities were given INR 20 million (US$ 300,000) by Government of India by the Centre to make their smart city plan proposals with technical assistance by national and international agencies. These proposal were evaluated by a Committee involving a panel of national and international experts, organizations and institutions. The cities which scored high on these critieria have been selected for the first round and will get funding to start the work. However, the cities which do not get selected will start work on improving their SCPs for consideration in the second round.