Surat Civic Body Making Startups Bloom

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M Thennarasan

To boost the local entrepreneurship, Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has come up with a policy which is an incubation set up providing help to startups in developing new innovations, says M Thennarasan, Commissioner, Surat Municipal Corporation, in conversation with Hemangini Kanth Rajput of Elets News Network (ENN).

What strategies are you following to improve the infrastructure of Surat?

Our main focus is on IT-based infrastructure services for citizens. We are also trying to improve the SMC services like 24X7 water supply, smart roads, IT enabled transport system, etc. What Smart City Plan have you formulated for Surat? As far as Smart City projects are concerned, 12 projects are completed and rest of them are nearing completion. In upcoming next 4-5 months, we would be completing smart city housing works, Integrated Transport Management System (ITMS), traffic control systems, 24X7 water supply projects, smart road along with other lined up projects.

What challenges are you facing in implementing the Smart City projects?

The challenges lie in finding better and effective local IT solutions. Lack of competition for projects like fibre-tohome, ERP, etc, is the main challenge. The private participation for these projects is not forthcoming, which is also one of the problem areas before us. We require holistic participation from all so that projects can be implemented on time.

How Surat Municipal Corporation is trying to ensure startups bloom in the city?

To boost up the local entrepreneurship, we have come up with a policy which is an incubation set up providing help to startups in developing new innovations. The first phase of this policy will be launched around June 25th this year. Elaborate version of this policy, with an investment of Rs 20 crore will bring together all the mentors and incubators, startups and bankers together in a single ecosystem soon.

Surat Municipal Corporation has introduced virtual civic centres across the city, how is this beneficial for citizens?

All the online services offered by SMC are provided at these virtual civic centres. This includes payment of taxes in addition to all the other corporation services. It also provides access to citizens to facilities of the corporation like swimming pool, etc. We are also coming up with a surat money card which will enable citizens to do retail transactions as well as transport transcations through a single card. It will be launched soon.

What challenges are you facing for implementation of startups mission and how can these new ventures register themselves for this mission?

We have already placed a system whereby a CEO has been appointed for this mission. We have also shortlisted the mentors, probable sponsors, knowledge providers, etc. Various industrial associations have also been roped in. We hope that through this new system, a healthy ecosystem will be created. Surat is one of the top most textile and diamond industry in the country. Accesssories industry is also booming here. I think it will be a good opportunity for innovators and startups to bring new technologies, new solutions for the industries as per their requirement.

In the wake of Swacchta drive, what initiatives have you undertaken to implement the same?

Our city is clean. And, it needs continuous efforts and upgradation to keep the city clean which we have been doing from last several years. In this aspect of cleanliness, we would be building public toilets in various regions of the city. In addition, conversion of waste into compost, energy projects and vermicompost plants are also taken up. Further to this, we have come up with nearly 20 Organisc Waste Convertor (OWC) plants where-in waste to be segregated and converted into compost. We have also placed smart dustbins with sensor based mechanisms. Door to door services to pick waste has been deployed in the city along with GPS monitoring system. All in all, automatic systems have been deployed with real time monitoring through central systems.

What is this Comprehensive Mobility Plans 2046 all about?

Have you conducted some workshop regarding it? We have organised CMP – Comprehensive Mobility Plans 2046. Development in taking place at a very fast rate in the city. Looking at this rate, we need to formulate a comprehensive plan for next 30 years. In this regard, we are working on creating the Comprehensive Mobility Plans. To take it forward, consultation process is going on and shortly we will start implementing the same.

For next 30 years, we have planning to invest Rs 37,000 crore in terms of developing infrastructure, Metro services, etc in the city. We are working in a holistic way on all the components of mobility which have been incorporated in a structured way. Also, we are considering safety and shortest possible road in the light of major time consumption.

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