ā€˜4 sā€™ for success of Smart Cities

Minister of Urban development stated that smart cities is all about 4 s and 4p and the resource challenge can be met if citizens make a success of Public-People Partnership (PPP) along with:

• Smart leadership, 

• Smart Governance, 

• Smart Technologies and 

• Smart People make a city smart. 

Why India Needs Smart Cities?

India's rapid modernization over the last two and a half decades has essentially centered around cities built long time back. With opportunities remaining limited in rural areas, people are migrating to cities in search of better earnings and life styles. This has resulted in haphazard expansion of areas adjacent to the existing major cities. However with amenities and urban infrastructure always getting overwhelmed by a countless number of people moving in every day, planned development and expansion of Indian cities hardly ever got the due attention it deserved. Additionally, a large number of suburban clusters have also mushroomed in India to cater to the living requirements of people. Till now India could still sustain with whatever band-aid or say incremental development it did for cities. But this approach would not be sustainable in the times to come when there would be an exponential increase in the number of people in India aspiring to live in cities. As per a report by India’s NITI AYOG the Indian cities contribute around 62-63% of India’s GDP which is expected to go up to 75 % by 2021.

What is the meaning of smart cities?

A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate multiple information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in a secure fashion to manage a city's assets the city's assets include, but are not limited to, local departments' information systems, schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, and other community services. 

Elaborating on the concept of 4 s

A. Smart Leadership should be guided by a vision and mission:

• It requires the courage to take quick and bold decisions and adaptation of best practices and attract investments. 

• Smart governance is needed to ensure transparency and accountability through adoption of technology platforms to reduce human to human interface and ensure online delivery of services and real time information besides promoting participation of citizens in decision making and execution. 

• Smart technologies will enable efficient energy, traffic, solid waste and waste to wealth management, real time information and service delivery etc. 

• People should be smart enough to partner in the city development by willing to pay for the value addition to the services, able to question the authorities and enforce accountability. The smart cities shall be livable, workable, inclusive and sustainable.

B. Role plays by the state and urban local bodies:

• States and urban local bodies have to play the key role in building smart cities while the central government could do the handholding as an enabler besides providing some financial assistance. 

• The states and urban local bodies have come out with required policy and procedural innovations for attracting investments.

• Total sanitation is the need of the hour given its adverse impacts on people’s health and economy. Further on, inadequate sanitation is costing about US $ 54 billion i.e. 6.40% of GDP each year besides resulting in 18 lakh deaths each year due to diarrheal disease.

• About 80% of the diseases are water-borne and water related following water pollution, contamination and logging. He informed that about 19% of urban households do not have toilets within their premises and about 13% are defecting in the open.

• The Department of Posts for issuing a Commemorative Stamp on ‘Swachh Bharat’ on the occasion of the 67th Death Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi which is being observed as Martyrs Day.

• Similarly, Mahatma effectively used ‘Satyagraha’ during the freedom struggle, the country and its people need to resort to ‘Swachha-graha’ to make the country clean by October 2, 2019 as a befitting tribute to him on the occasion of Mahatma’s 150th Birth Anniversary.

C. Smart Technologies may include:

Some features of smart city could be:



Smart Solution

electricity supply

Assured, quality and environmentally sustainable

Smart metering, solar electricity generation

sanitation, including solid waste management,


Waste water treatment, waste to energy etc.

Urban mobility

Minimum distance, optimal speed, safe, cost-effective

Intelligent traffic management, integrated multi-modal transport, smart parking


Affordable, universal


Health & education

Affordable, universal and quality

Polyclinics, saaransh etc


Clean air, preserving open spaces,

Pollution monitoring, zero discharge etc


Participative, transparent, accountable etc

e-governance, public information and grievance Redressal, participative and channelized planning process

Law and order

Quick, responsive, deterrent,

Community policing, CCTV, e-courts, e-police,

Economic development

Equitable, inclusive, according to carrying capacity and transformative with linkages

Food processing in food belts, Space foe vendors etc.


Way forward

 Total of the 98 cities and towns in India that 5 years down will graduate into smart cities, 24 are capital cities, another 24 are business and industrial centers, 18 are culture and tourism influenced areas, 5 are port cities and three are education and health care hubs. 

Moreover, massive awareness campaign is required to change the mindsets of people to adopt clean sanitation practices, the ‘Swachh Bharat’ stamp released today would help in this regard. Awareness generation and infrastructure development should be followed by stricter penalties to ensure total sanitation.