In context of Smart Cities, delivery of public services in urban areas is very important. Smart City is not only about infrastructure, roads, transport and buildings; ultimately, it’s about community living. With the use of ICT, delivery of public services can be streamlined and urban living can be improved efficiently. The Passport Seva Project has been delivering its services smartly for the last four years now through Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs). The project has been executed under PPP mode, in association with TCS. Initially, the pilot project was started in 2010, but within a short span of time, in two years, we have created a network of 77 PSKs all over India. ICT has enabled faster delivery of passport services.
As of today, India has seen just 31 per cent urbanization. Therefore, it is time to arise and awake. We are lagging behind by almost 10 to 15 years compared to other countries as far as smart cities are concerned. In Gujarat, almost all cities are using Geographic Information System (GIS). As many as 21 State Governments have State Data Centres (SDCs), but hardly 10 out of them are working. Microsoft has planned to set up Hyper-scale Data Centre (HDC) by the end of 2015, which the government may use as and when required. As exchange of information will be frequent, everything has to be integrated with the cloud platform. But data safety and security has to be kept in mind. As for the funding part, only `7,000 crore is not sufficient to make 100 cities smart, so private sector has to partner with the government to give shape to the dream of smart cities.
Smart Cities must have smart services and solutions, and ‘Swachh Bharat Toilet Locator’ initiative of the Moga Municipal Corporation can certainly be one of them. Basically, we have designed a Mobile App to locate public toilets in cities across India. It is an Information Technologyenabled public utility helping one to locate public toilets. The app could be useful to the people, who are new to the city or unaware of available toilets nearby. We are in the process of collecting data of 50,000 toilets. And, what is more, it is completely a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity, as not a single penny has been taken from the government. Common issues with public toilets include lack of knowledge about the locations, inability to ask for the directions and cleanliness, which are addressed through the App to make things easier. The App will also have easy and gender-specific search, and users can submit their feedback as well.
Essel Infra Smart Utilities is nurturing integrated smarter communities by undertaking projects in power distribution, water supply, municipal solid waste management, city cable and broadband with wi-fi, city gas distribution, sewage treatment, etc. We are largest power distribution franchisee in India with four cities, including Nagpur, Sagar, Muzaffarpur and Ujjain. We are India’s largest PPP operator in water distribution with Aurangabad and Bhagalpur city. If Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has to scale up, there has to be a system in place. We are recycling MSW into useful things in our plants. We have also set the target of generating 12,000MW renewable energy through solar as well as wind power. Smart energy and sustainable environment is required for creating smart infrastructure in Smart Cities.
Smart Cities must have smart ways of public service delivery for better governance. There are three ways of developing smart cities, including new cities, i.e. building smart from start, make existing cities smart, or make purpose-driven cities. There has to be smart governance for better service delivery. What comes first in our mind, when we talk about smart city, is always technology, trends and ICT applications. Smart cities should follow the rule of citizens first, not the technology. In a smart city, focus should be given to needs and aspirations of citizens. Three-pronged tests for service delivery are: plan citizens to be happy, design them to be inclusive and implement Go G-Local.