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Smart Cities for urban development and reforms

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on January 09, 2015

The Smart Cities programme will be an important tool in urban reforms and infrastructure development in Public Private Partnership mode, according to Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Urban Development.

The Government of India programme envisages developing modern cities with world class infrastructure capable of delivering products and services effectively. The objective is that cities which contribute more than half the GDP are key to economic development and need to provide an ideal environment to be competitive.

According to the Urban Development Ministry, “The key features of a Smart City is in the intersect between competitiveness, capital and sustainability. The smart cities should be able to provide good infrastructure such as water, sanitation, reliable utility services, health care; attract investments; transparent processes that make it easy to run a commercial activities; simple and on line processes for obtaining approvals, and various citizen centric services to make citizens feel safe and happy.”

Addressing the inaugural of an exhibition on construction equipment organised by the Builders Association of India, Naidu said a number of State governments are demanding that their cities be identified for development as a smart city, but it is not easy. “They should be ready for reforms – willing to levy user charges, start water metering…” partner with the private sector, he said.

The Centre is keen on introducing GST, labour reforms and infrastructure development amongst a range of measures for development. But the State governments have to cooperate. It has hiked excise on petrol and diesel by 2 per cent without hiking the retail price to fund infrastructure development, he said.

More than 43 per cent of government’s tax revenue is spent on interest payments. It is not sustainable to continue with tax concessions and unrealistic incentives and freebies, he said.

The Builders Association presented a memorandum seeking an equitable contract document based on World Bank norms for public works contracts, solution to delays in arbitration settlement and doing away with 12.36 per cent service tax on construction contracts.

A unified labour law is needed for the construction industry and stalled projects should be expedited, it said.

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Published on January 09, 2015
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