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Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

The Smart Cities Mission opened the registration for India Cycles4Change Challenge.

India Cycles4Change Challenge

  • India Cycles4change Challenge is an initiative of Smart Cities Missionto inspire and support Indian cities to quickly implement cycling-friendly initiatives in response to COVID-19.
  • Cities are encouraged to collaborate with CSOs, experts, and volunteers as they develop and implement their plans.
  • The need for personalized forms of transport is expected to increase as a response to COVID-19.
  • A recent survey by the (Institute for Transportation and Development Policy) ITDP India Programme shows that cycling would increase by 50-65% as cities come out of lockdown.
  • Cities around the world are leveraging the opportunity to expand their cycling networks and public bicycle-sharing systems.
  • As per ITDP, increasing cycling can help cities in a green economic recovery.
  • Cycling for short distances can result in an annual benefit of INR 1.8 trillion to the Indian economy.

Smart Cities Mission

  • National Smart Cities Mission is an urban renewal and retrofitting program by the Government of India with the mission to develop smart cities across the country, making them citizen friendly and sustainable.
  • The Union Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for implementing the mission in collaboration with the state governments of the respective cities.
  • While the mission initially included only 100 cities, the government later announced to expand the mission to all 4,000 cities in India.
  • Smart Cities Mission is supporting interested cities in raising finance through Municipal Bonds.
  • The Urban Learning Internship Program (TULIP) is designed for all ULBs (Urban Local Bodies) and Smart City SPVs (Special Purpose Vehicles) to engage fresh graduates as interns.
  • Climate Smart Cities and Data Smart Cities are two important programs under Smart Cities Mission.

Definition of “Smart Cities” according to Smart Cities Mission

  • Some definitional boundaries are required to guide cities in the Mission.
  • In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a smart city contains a wish list of infrastructure and services that describes his or her level of aspiration.
  • To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban eco-system, which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development-institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure.
  • This can be a long-term goal and cities can work towards developing such comprehensive infrastructure incrementally, adding on layers of ‘smartness’.
December 2023