As the BJP-led NDA Government took the reins of power in New Delhi and announced within months creation of 100 smart cities across the country, little would have an average Jabalpur-ean thought that his city would be among the first 20 cities chosen to be developed as smart cities! It came as a pleasant surprise to them that they are well on way to become one of the first citizenries in the country to have this honour.
What’s more, it ranked even ahead—at 7th position—of the state capital Bhopal and financial capital Indore, which were placed at 20th and 11th position, respectively. So, who does the credit for this rare honour go to? Well, one won’t disagree that since before the inclusion of its name in the coveted list of 20 cities, the Jabalpur Municipal Corporation (JMC) has been pursuing the agenda of people’s welfare in a way that few civic bodies can boast of. It has been implementing one digital service after the other to make the life of people living within its jurisdiction easier.
However, a sizeable portion of this credit must also go to the local populace, which has been a much more disciplined lot compared to denizens in other cities even within Madhya Pradesh and proactively adopting the technology-led governance introduced by JMC. After all, a city is only as good as its residents. So, in other words, making of Smart City Jabalpur will be something akin to the age-old adage – “of the people, for the people, by the people”!
Now, having achieved this feat, the next big challenge facing the city is how to meet the cost of developing it as a smart city; although the Centre and the State Government will be together extending Rs.1,000 crore, this joint funding may fall much short of the requirement. In this background, Elets Technomedia, in association with JMC, has organised a “Smart City Conclave – Jabalpur” on 26 May 2016, with “Smart Investment for a Better Future” as the theme of the conference.
The meet, which will see participation of top government officials from both within and outside the State, and experts and stakeholders in the Smart City domain, will brainstorm over how to evolve a smart city model that is sustainable both infrastructure-wise and financially, and both in short and long run.
The fact that we chose to organise this event in Jabalpur is a humble acknowledgement of the great effort that JMC has put in over the years for the welfare of its people, and a tribute to the local citizens, who have been awake and alert to their rights and duties in equal measure.
We dedicate this special issue of eGov magazine to the citizens of Jabalpur!