As Modi Government’s most dynamic initiative gains momentum, the investments and efforts are surging at both Public and Private fronts. With the numbers going into billions and colossal plans for transforming 100 cities, stakeholders have been innovating and expanding their portfolios to make the most out of this opportunity.
With the growing significance of technology in all walks of life, urban India has seen a surge of population in recent times. The growing sizes and influence of cities on a country’s scale of progress made upgrade of infrastructure and digital transformation of services imperative. To this views, the Central government led by PM Modi set across a rather futuristic and ambitious urban development agenda.
The PM’s signature program, called the Smart Cities Mission, aims to improve the quality of life in 109 of India’s fast-growing urban centers. For this sole purpose, the government has put aside a budget of $7.5 billion to the Mission. The core aim of the project is to make these cities citizen friendly and sustainable through the use of technologies like Analytics, IoT, Sensors, video surveillance and by promoting citizen engagement.
The Smart City Vision
With increasing urban population and rapid expansion of areas, operators are looking at smarter ways to manage complexities, increase efficiencies and improve quality of life. This has created need for cities that monitor and integrate infrastructure to better optimize resources while maximizing services to its citizens. Many players are beginning to see this as an opportunity to adopt new smart city solutions and insights from IoT that will help make communities a better place to live. In fact, the goal of smart cities is not just limited to enabling the citizens of the nation to become digitally enhanced and enable them with the access to the latest innovations.
“While the govt. will contribute a substantial amount to finance these projects, it is estimated that the mission will require about USD 150bn investment from private sector.”
India and SAARC
Smart City projects will need the creation of infrastructure – physical, digital, social – influencing the provision of every service in the city. The key focus is on mobility, sanitation and hygiene, energy and water management, communications and connectivity and citizen engagement. These initiatives will ease the daily life of residents, provide better amenities, and improve livelihoods and sociocultural environment.
Market Opportunity and Growth Drivers
As per estimates from industry experts, the IT opportunity is being projected at around $25 million per city. According to Nasscom, the government’s initiative can create business opportunity of over $30-40 billion for the IT sector over the next 5-10 years. Government of India has committed to spend US $1 Billion on 100 smart cities over the next 5 years. As per Brocade’s George Chacko, “The 100 Smart Cities project, aimed at helping transform India into a country of digitally connected cities, is offering immense opportunities to IT companies. IoT and machine to machine (M2M) will play key roles in the evolution of the smart cities. M2M establishes intelligent communication between IoT devices, providing online data gathering, remote control and process automation. They can report on the status of IoT devices and sensors being monitored via the internet and enable intelligent, real-time decision-making for an array of services, such as traffic lights, parking and energy usage.”
HDS’ SrinivasRao supports the idea saying, “The government’s Digital India vision is expected to drive the country into its next phase of digital growth. Both Smart Cities and Digital India projects are creating new economic and social opportunities for IT players to provide technology solutions to make the Digital India vision a reality.” Vishal Agrawal, MD, Avaya, India and SAARC said, “An all-encompassing initiative which enunciates a clear action plan for ‘Digital India’ encapsulating last mile internet connectivity, better access to services, as well as IT skills development of local talent- the program shows the government’s visionary approach to transform India into a connected knowledge economy while offering world class services.”
Public-Private Collaboration is Important
An industry report from Deloitte in 2016 suggested that an overall investment of US $150 Billion will be needed, most of which will have to come through private sector investments. In a nutshell, India’s Smart City plan is part of a larger agenda of creating Industrial Corridors between India’s metropolitan cities. As HDS’ Rao points out, India has also been inviting foreign partnership in developing the smart cities and has signed deals to build eight cities — three with Germany, three with the US, and one each with Spain and Singapore. The participation of the private sector is very crucial and few of the private players are already in collaboration with the government.”
According to the Urban Development Ministry data, 11 projects worth Rs.935.93 Cr of the 167 projects amounting to Rs.12000 Cr under public-private partnership model have taken off so far. Another 21 PPP projects worth Rs.2622.23 Cr are at various stages of tendering process. The involvement of private players will help in establishing creative clusters/ creative districts through consultancy and effective planning.
“Organizations wanting to be associated with projects are applying predictive and prescriptive analytics to support new wave of intelligent public transportation systems.”
Sales Director Government Sector
Hitachi Data Systems, India
Dr. Sumit D Chowdhury, CEO & Founder, Gaia Smart Cities opines, “Public- Private Collaboration is essential at many levels. At the most basic and crucial level, financing with required partnerships and operations will require governmental and non-governmental organizations to collaborate. This can be taken down to the level of citizens. Private sector firms can start entrepreneurial ventures to build new age solutions. They can come together to build local level infrastructure and behaviour change through CSR activities. Private sector firms can also enable engagement with citizens to enable transparency and use feedback mechanisms to improve quality of delivery.”