A novel feature of the Smart Cities Mission to be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Thursday is selection of potential smart city candidates based on a two-stage competition, called ‘City Challenge’ competition.
The first stage of the competition is intra-state that involves evaluating all cities and towns in each state based on the criteria evolved by the Ministry of Urban Development in consultation with various stakeholders.
Each state is assigned a specific number of cities for such nomination based on an objective criteria giving equal weightage (50:50) to urban population in each state and the number of statutory cities/towns in each state.A statutory town is one that has a notified municipal body.
According to sources in the ministry, Uttar Pradesh can nominate a maximum of 13 cities for development as smart cities. Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu follow closely with 12 each. Punjab is entitled to nominate three cities, while Haryana two and Delhi one.
The cities nominated by each state will then participate in the second stage of competition, which will be ‘inter-city’. These 100 cities will prepare smart city plans for each city and they will be evaluated by a panel of experts in the ministry based on elaborate criteria.
All the 100 cities will be ranked based on the criteria and the top 20 will be chosen for funding during 2015-16. The rest will be given time to make up the deficiencies identified before participating in the next two rounds of competition. Subsequently, another set of 40 cities will be selected for financing in 2016-17 and the remaining 40 in the year after that.