Hardeep S Puri, MoS, (I/C), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched several new initiatives under AMRUT and the Smart Cities Mission, on 09 July 2018. These include the India Smart Cities Fellowship (ISCF) Program, India Smart Cities Internship (ISCI) Program and The Smart Cities Digital Payments Awards 2018 and the ‘CITIIS’ challenge under the Smart Cities Mission and the Local Area Plan (LAP)/Town Planning Scheme (TPS) to be implemented in 25 cities on pilot basis under AMRUT. Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing Affairs and other senior officials of the ministry were also present on the occasion.
Puri stated that Smart cities fellowship and internship program will provide the youth an opportunity to experience the aspects of Urban planning and governance. Announcing the launch of the Smart cities digital payment award, Puri said that it is intended to promote ‘Digital India’ and ease of living for India’s urban residents by promoting digital payments and encouraging Smart Cities to adopt innovative digital payments initiatives.
India Smart Cities Fellowship (ISCF) Program
The India Smart Cities Fellowship Program is designed to provide valuable experience to the youth interested in smart cities specifically, and urban renewal sector in general and will bring in new ideas, passion and energy to the challenging but exciting work of implementing cutting edge, high-impact solutions to key urban problems. This program will cultivate young leaders, strengthen their understanding of Indian urban sector and prepare them for greater leadership roles in future.
MoHUA will engage 30 young graduates/post graduates and PhDs in the fields of Urban Planning, Urban Design, Engineering, Information and Technology, Urban Mobility, Finance, Social Sector, and Environmental issues as Smart Cities Fellows. The period of engagement is 1-year extendable upto 3 years. They will provide necessary support to Office of Mission Director, Smart Cities in MoHUA and/or CEOs of selected Smart Cities in terms of analytics, research, documentation, independent assessment, visualization or any other related activities including preparation of reports, posters, dossiers, etc.
India Smart Cities Internship (ISCI) Program
MoHUA will engage students pursuing Under Graduate/Graduate/Post Graduate degree as Interns to help implementation of Smart City Projects in various States/Cities. The internship will be on unpaid basis for a period of 6 to 12 weeks. They will be given an Experience Certificate at the end successful completion of the program. ISCIs will be given exposure in the following areas of development under Smart Cities Mission including Urban Planning, Urban Design, Engineering, Information and Technology, Urban Mobility, Finance, Social Sector, and Environmental issues.
The ‘Interns’ shall be a part of the Smart Cities Mission, and their role primarily would be in implementation /reporting /evaluation and monitoring /knowledge management/stakeholder engagement/ media outreach and other similar activities as assigned to them by the Mission Director (SCM).
The Smart Cities Digital Payments Awards 2018
The Smart Cities Digital Payments Awards (SCDPA) 2018 ‘100 days Challenge in 100 Smart Cities’ is part of the initiatives of MoHUA to promote ease of living for India’s urban residents. The objective of these awards is to guide, motivate, recognise and reward the Smart Cities for promoting digital payments and carrying out innovative payment initiatives in their respective cities.
This program will not only reward cities at the forefront of digital payments but also act as encouragement for other cities to follow suite and strengthen their digital payments infrastructure, create awareness through promotion of digital payments with all the stakeholders and provide citizens with multiple options to make digital transactions.
The challenge period would be 100 days starting from the launch of the awards. This would galvanize the digital payments landscape in the Smart Cities. The awards will be conferred based on a 2-stage process. Evaluation Committee(s) chaired by Secretary, MoHUA and comprising of other members shall comprise the Jury. The timelines for the awards program are as follows:
- Submission of responses for 1st stage: 15th September
- Shortlist declaration for 1st stage: 30th September
- Template sharing for 2nd stage evaluation: 15th October (template will be shared with the shortlisted cities only)
- Submission of responses for 2nd stage: 30th October
- Final results: TBA
Cities Investment To Innovate, Integrate and Sustain (CITIIS) Challenge
When Smart Cities Mission was launched on 25 June 2015 a competitive, challenge process was used to select the 100 Smart Cities. Now, the Challenge process is being applied to project implementation, in line with the NITI Aayog guideline where under the Indo-French partnership program, at least 15 projects would be selected through an All-India Challenge. The projects would be in four sectors- Sustainable Mobility, Public Open Spaces, Urban governance & ICT and Social and Organisational Innovation in low-income settlements. The duration of the program will be three years (FY2018-19 to FY2020- 21).
A Loan of EUR 100 million would be extended by AFD to selected CITIIS projects in the form of grant. The repayment of the principle and interest would be equally shared by the Central Government and State Government on 50:50 basis. Each awarded CITIIS project will benefit from a grant ranging from INR 20 Cr. to INR 80 Cr (max project outlay: 160 crore). The CITIIS grant is expected to cover from minimum 50% up to 80% of the project cost subject to a maximum of INR 80 Cr. and additional funding amounting to least 20% to be secured by the awarded cities through its own resources.
In addition, EUR 6 million would be given as grant to be shared between the SPVs of the Smart Cities, State Governments and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for capacity building activities. The National institute of Urban Affairs would conduct the Challenge process for selection of projects under the Indo-French partnership.
The financial support and foreign technical assistance will help Smart Cities to access World Class expertise for selected innovative projects. It also intends to improve peer learning activities & cooperation within the smart cities and enhance the knowledge both at the State and National Level.