Smart Cities in developing countries - India

November 19, 2015



Smart City concept is on the agenda of countries such as Denmark, Singapore or Spain, but more value can be leveraged for citizens in developing countries such as India.



A Smart City uses energy efficiently and puts the general well being of its citizens beyond anything else. It makes use of technology to better reorganization public services, education, transport management, water, healthcare, energy and many other areas with the sole purpose of becoming more efficient and responding faster in the face of emergency.

While this is a fast growing trend in developed countries and helps them become more climate resilient and energy efficient, the developing nations are just starting to look at the concept of Smart Cities.


Developing nations face greater exacerbated challenges than other nations such as lack of infrastructure, population growth in urban areas, no urban services such as drinking water, sanitation, health or education, no building capacity and poverty. As a consequence, western countries models of development should not be blindly adopted, but rather shaped and modeled to fit the local realities. In countries such as India, Brazil or Kenya, people’s needs are higher and immediate, while there is a fast penetration of mobile and information technology.


India's 100 Smart Cities


India is one example of a developing country with ambitious plans regarding smart cities. In the context of the above-mentioned challenges, the Narendra Modi Government allocated the sum of 7, 2 billion USD for implementing the Smart City Mission. The project spans over 5 years and focuses on developing “100 Smart Cities”. Compared to other countries, the emphasis of the Indian version of the Smart City concept is clearly on getting core infrastructure right in Indian cities – water supply, electricity supply, sanitation, public transport, solid waste management and affordable housing. This will allow a sustainable and inclusive development of compact areas that will later represent a replicable model for aspiring cities.


The cities selected to be part of the Smart Mission have a population combined of 130 million people, equaling 35% of India’s urban population. These are expected to consult various stakeholders in the process and make use of public private partnerships to support the government funding and recover the investment in the long run.


Furthermore, the country is also focusing on improving national infrastructure and reducing its CO2 emissions by at least 35 per cent up to 2030. The main focus is on the development of roads and water and solar energy to reduce the pollution and improve the health of citizens.


To read more about India’s Smart City Mission, you can consult the official report.

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