New Delhi, Jan 29: Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha today interacted with the municipal commissioners of 97 cities included in the Smart Cities Mission and chief secretaries of all states and Union territories on the implementation of the programme and asked them to focus on resource mobilisation.
Complimenting the 20 winners of the first round of Smart City Challenge Competition, he said it said was fiercely contested based on comprehensive evaluation criteria.
Highlighting the importance and urgency being accorded by the government to Smart City Mission, Sinha, in a video conference here, stressed that the urban sector has emerged as a major contributor of economic activity.
He said that given the limitations of central and state governments in terms of resources, Mission Cities should focus more on other means of resource mobilization like convergence of various schemes, rationalization of user charges, an Urban Development Ministry spokesperson said.
The Cabinet Secretary said those who could not make it to the first list announced yesterday need not be disappointed as they get two more opportunities to compete in the next few months.
The Municipal Commissioner of Bhubaneshwar, which topped the list of 20 winners, informed the Cabinet Secretary that sustainable urban planning, developing sound economic ecosystem and credible financial planning through city-level infrastructure development fund were the strong points of their proposal.
The Municipal Commissioner of Pune, which came in second, said focus on quality of life in the city, creation of qualitative economic infrastructure as a part of a 15 year master plan and sustainability features were the core strengths of the city's proposal.
Sinha informed the 23 states and Union territories, which were not represented in the first list, that they could participate in fast-track competition by submitting upgraded smart city proposals of one top ranked city in each state and UT by April 15, 2016.
Most of the cities who could not make to the winners list informed the Cabinet Secretary that preparation of the proposals and participation in the competition was a huge learning experience and they were determined to improve upon their proposals by working on the deficiencies.
Some of them admitted to possible inadequacies with respect to certain parameters like implementation frame work, credibility of financing plans and sustainable urban planning.