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Spotlight India part 11: Smart Cities

Spotlight India part 11: Smart Cities


Next on our tour of India's building and interiors market, and the opportunities it offers exporters, is an enormous city planning project that will bring Indian architecture and design to the spearpoint of global technology - the Smart Cities drive.


The Smart Cities Mission is a government initiative to update and renew the urban infrastructure in 98 key cities in India. The first 20 sites for redevelopment were outlined in January 2016, and the remaining inclusion will be released over the next two years. 


Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially launched the Smart Cities programme in Pune in June 2016 (below, image via Wikimedia Commons), and since then announcements on funding injections, plannign approvals, and new developments have appeared on a regular basis.


Smart Cities


While there is no hard and fast rule for what constitutes a smart city, the government outlined the following core infrastructure elements required – much of which will require extensive construction work.





• Adequate water supply

• Assured electricity supply

• Sanitation and solid waste management

• Efficient urban mobility and public transport

• Affordable housing

• Robust IT connectivity and organisation

• Sustainable environment

Safety and security for residents, especially women, children and the elderly

• Storm water drains

• Pedestrian, non-motorised and public transport facilities

• Parking spaces 


So far, the government has allocated $1.5 billion dollars in order to begin the rollout of this extensive update and renewal programme. The first 20 cities to receive their share of funds, and enjoy the first stages of this huge project, are outlined below:


Initial 20 cities allocated funding under the Smart Cities Mission in 2016 (state in brackets)


- Ahmedabad (Gujarat)

- Belagavi (Karnataka)

- Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh)

- Bhubaneswar (Odisha)

- Chennai (Tamil Nadu)

- Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu)

- Davangere (Karnataka)

- Guwahati (Assam)

- Indore (Madhya Pradesh)

- Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh)

- Jaipur (Rajasthan)

- Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh)

- Kochi (Kerala)

- Ludhiana (Punjab)

- New Delhi Municipal Corporation

- Pune (Maharashtra)

- Solapur (Maharashtra)

- Surat (Gujarat)

- Udaipur (Rajasthan)

- Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh)


New Delhi, one area to receive Smart City attention (image: Kabi1990 via Wikimedia Commons)





Affordable housing is one of the key components of smart cities across India. As such, housing construction in the above cities, as well as the remaining 78 sites, will increase at a healthy rate. India’s government as already committed heavily to creating a large affordable housing stock, as outlined in the Residential Construction section of this report. 


International attention and cooperation is expected to be of a high level with regards to this project. Germany, for example, has set up a six member joint committee on how the two countries could collaborate in designing smart cities. The results of this council, which included representatives from India’s Urban Development Ministry and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, ended with Germany agreeing to develop the cities of Kochi, Bhubaneswar and Coimbatore.  


German Ambassador to India Martin Ney, while addressing a press conference regarding his country’s input into the Smart Cities Mission, said that Germany is an ideal partner in India's mission to create smarter cities as the country is "very strong at smart planning for urban centres". 


"We have developed the technologies to make life in cities easier. We have developed the processes to bring on board the stakeholders to make cities thrive and German companies have developed smart solutions to make smart cities," he added. 


An period of 8 to 10 years is expected to construct a smart city from scratch.  A number of cities have reportedly got a head start on other locations, even before the complete details were finalised. 


Plans for GIFT. (image: giftgujarat.in)


One such location is the Gujarat International Financial Tec-City, better known as GIFT. GIFT (above) is expected to be a leading example of the Smart Cities Mission. Located over a 886 acre site, 18km from Ahmedabad airport, GIFT has been conceptualised as a global finances and IT services hub. Construction began as early as 2011. 


The city is expected to generate 500,000 direct jobs and an equal number of indirect jobs. GIFT City will have a command centre with ICT infrastructure to manage everyday tasks. 


A number of modernisations have been planned, such as multi-level parking facility with space for 5,400 car spaces, a 1,000 MW electrical supply and a smart solid waste management system. This is in addition to the housing, commercial and industrial construction projects planned. The initial of the three construction phases is due for completion in 2016 with a final date of 2026. 



GIFT is just one examples of Smart City innovation. And with Germany as a prime example of international interest, the space for foreign companies looking to get involved in these multiple large scale projects is definitely available.   


This article is part of Spotlight India, a series of articles on the opportunities for suppliers in India's building and interiors industry - giving you a complete guide to the sector. Keep checking WorldBuild365 in the coming weeks for a look at industrial construction, India's key areas for imported building materials, major projects in India, and much more.





Previous articles in Spotlight India:


How building and interiors is changing India

Residential construction

Office, retail and commercial construction

FDI in Indian construction

Infrastructure construction in India

Sanitary ware and bathrooms in India

The Indian modular kitchens market

India's furniture market

India's ceramic tiles market

India's windows and doors market

LED lighting in India


Cover image via GIFT City Gujarat


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