- Veröffentlicht: 28. März 2019
New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) or the VIP area of the capital of India had finished 12th in the Smart City Challenge.
On January 28, 2016, 20 cities were chosen through a competitive contest for the government’s urban renewal flagship initiative –– the Smart City Mission. The concept was new –– cities competed with each other and were chosen through a scientific weightage system to “smarten up”.
Cities had to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) with a dedicated CEO and staff, generate a revenue stream to fund big-ticket projects (which included a command and control centre to keep an eye on the city’s traffic, water and electricity supply, street lighting, hospitals, schools and even pollution) and rope in the private sector to get the requisite investments. Three years after the cities were chosen, ET looks at how the journey of one of the first few has been.
New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) or the VIP area of the capital of India had finished 12th in the Smart City Challenge. Three years down the line, the ground reality shows that smart city is “work in progress”.
Case of missing officials
The Smart City Mission planned the SPV as the soul of the mission. The Mission says, “The implementation of the Mission at the city level will be done by an SPV created for the purpose. The SPV will plan, appraise, approve, release funds, implement, manage, operate, monitor and evaluate the Smart City development projects. Each smart city will have an SPV which will be headed by a full-time CEO and have nominees of the central government, state government and ULB on its board.” On paper, NDMC has an SPV –– the NDMC Smart City Limited (NDMC SCL) –– which was incorporated on July 28, 2016. However, on the ground, there is bare minimum dedicated staff and a majority of the officials spearheading the initiative have been sent temporarily from NDMC, the parent organisation.
The CEO, Juhi Mukherjee, is on leave and her responsibilities are being handled by deputy commissioner Nidhi Srivastava.
As per data provided by NDMC, there is one chief data officer and nine information technology (IT) personnel. There are four general managers and two deputy general managers –– all are on deputation from NDMC.
Officials explain that three consultants were hired initially but NDMC realised that it already had a set-up in place to implement projects which should be utilised. No new staff has been hired since. The initiative is being spearheaded by NDMC chairman Naresh Kumar and his team of officials.
On the ground, it is not really SPV but NDMC which is implementing the projects. NDMC’s financial advisor Ramanand Bhagat says, “NDMC is implementing it and the SPV then transfers the money to NDMC.
We adopted this model as a separate SPV would have been a very heavy structure. So, our SPV plans and guides while NDMC implements the projects.”
The Mission says, “The states/ULBs shall ensure that, (a) a dedicated and substantial revenue stream is made available to the SPV so as to make it self-sustainable and could evolve its own credit worthiness for raising additional resources from the market and (b) Government contribution for Smart City is used only to create infrastructure that has public benefit outcome. The execution of projects may be done through joint ventures, subsidiaries, public-private partnership (PPP), turnkey contracts, etc suitably dovetailed with revenue.” This objective remains elusive. In the case of NDMC, the SPV remains practically on paper. NDMC implements the job and the SPV then transfers money along with 7% departmental charge to NDMC.
So, if a work costs NDMC Rs 7 lakh, SPV transfers Rs 7.49 lakh to NDMC. Bhagat says, “NDMC as a smart city has a unique character, different from any other smart city. Here, the area is small –– 45 square kilometre ––and the land is with NDMC.
This is why we thought of synergy and worked out this system.” NDMC chairman Naresh Kumar says the picture needs to be seen in totality.
NDMC SCL is one of the laggard smart cities from the first batch of 20 cities chosen in January 2016. As per the financial model, the Centre released Rs 200 crore and this had to be matched by the urban local body. Statistics provided to ET by NDMC reveal that the ministry of housing and urban affairs provided Rs 196 crore and NDMC matched it with Rs 200 crore. However, so far the expenditure has been Rs 70 crore. NDMC has kept the funds in fixed deposits in banks. Private players were the main hope of the Smart City Mission.
A senior ministry official, who was involved in the Mission conception stage, told ET, “The mission was planned in such a manner that the urban local bodies had to set the momentum and then the SPV had to rope in private players. The projects that were planned by the cities were huge. So, private participation was the backbone.”
So far, there are 15 projects worth Rs 293.37 crore in which the private players have been involved.
Of these, three have been completed and the remaining are in different stages.
The smart leap
The projects on the ground give a sneak peek of things to come.
There are three broad areas where the impact can be seen to a limited extent –– schools, healthcare and public infrastructure creation.
The Nerve Centre: On the first floor of NDMC’s headquarters ‘Palika Kendra’ is the nerve centre – the command and contsubrol centre. At the head of the room are big screens which display traffic on roads and different market areas monitored through CCTV cameras installed on smart poles. Manning this control room are computer professionals and a Delhi Police constable.
Sandeep Gaur, who oversees the operation, explains, “We are overseeing a lot of things here –– if there are illegally parked cars on the roads which are blocking traffic, the constable posted here gives the information and a towaway vehicle is pressed into service.” From GPS-enabled garbage collection vehicles to progress of LED bulb streetlighting project –– the control centre keeps an eye on the VIP area.
The grander version, however, is being constructed by L&T in Palika Kendra and is likely to be completed by May.
Smart Education: In its Smart School initiative, NDMC has stolen a march over private schools of the capital. The project was the first off the block and started in October 2016.
Smart classrooms comprise a projector and tutorials that are easy to explain. Urvashi Kapoor, ateacher at NP Bengali Girls Senior Secondary School, says, “This has made a lot of difference. Just now, I was trying to explain to them an aspect of magnetic field and they asked how does the flow change? With this tutorial, I can could simply show how.” In the education sector, NDMC has also set up libraries, which have Kindles for students to read books. The schools have also acquired tablets where they have content from organisations like Khan Academy.
Smart Health: NDMC has started e-registration under its Smart City project. A patient stands in a queue or at any ekiosk to register. This registration generates a token number. After the doctor checks him, he goes to the pharmacy for medicines. With the new system, which is also linked to Aadhaar, the doctors know which medicines are in stock and should be prescribed.
Smart meters: Launched in January, the project has been partnered with EESL and is a step towards smart grid. It helps in cutting down on transmission and distribution losses. Since the technology is GPRS-enabled, a consumer can even track usage back at home from his mobile.
Autor(en)/Author(s): Nidhi Sharma
Quelle/Source: The Economic Times, 21.03.2019