NEW DELHI -- Lucknow topped the list of winners of the Fast Track competition conducted for 23 cities from as many States and Union Territories as the Centre today announced 13 more smart cities.
Announcing the winners at a media conference on the occasion of two years of the Government in office, Minister of Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Venkaiah Naidu said that the cities that participated in the competition improved the quality of smart city plans by up to over 25% to become eligible for selection.
Naidu informed that Lucknow that missed the list of first 20 smart cities improved the quality of its smart city plan by 19% to make it to the select list.
Other winners of Fast Track competition were ; Warangal, Telanagana (13%), Shimla, Himachal Pradesh (27%), Chandigarh (9%), Raipur, Chattisgarh (25%), New Town Kolkata (11%), Bhagalpur, Bihar (25%), Panaji, Goa (9%), Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands (26%), Imphal, Manipur (27%), Ranchi, Jharkhand (27%), Agartala, Tripura (25%) and Faridabad, Haryana(12%).
These 13 cities were selected based on the marks scored by them in the Fast Track competition and the bench marks set by the top performers in the first round of Smart City Challenge competition in which the first 20 cities were selected from among 98 mission cities.
Naidu stated that the 13 cities have substantially improved their smart city plans by addressing the deficiencies identified in the first round of competition by ensuring better profiling of respective cities in terms of infrastructure gaps and baseline service levels, ensuring consistency between citizens' aspirations and action plans, more feasible resource mobilization plans and coordinated and integrated picture of how individual projects will contribute to area level changes.
"The new approaches introduced, the new churning at the level of urban local bodies and States/UTs, the new spirit of competition among cities and Stated to do better than others, the new enthusiasm and vigour being demonstrated, the new clarity of thought about outcomes and actions to be taken and the new beginning towards urban transformation in a more purposeful and holistic manner marked the process of urban renaissance" Naidu said.
Giving an account of the gains of new initiatives and approaches, Naidu said that for the first time in the country, 98 smart cities and 497 Atal Mission cities accounting for over 70% of urban population now have long term five year action plans based on comprehensive analysis of infrastructure gaps.
Naidu further informed that Central assistance for improving basic infrastructure in urban areas has been increased to Rs.1, 13,143 crores under new urban missions as against only Rs.33, 902 crores during 2004-14. For affordable housing for urban poor, Central assistance of Rs.10, 050 crores has already been approved as against only Rs.17, 889 crores during the previous ten years.
Also see on HuffPost: