Smart City Mission

Context : Indore has been adjudged the best Smart City while Madhya Pradesh has been chosen as the top state for exemplary performance in the Smart Cities Mission according to India Smart Cities Award Contest (ISAC), 2022.

About Smart Cities Mission

  • Smart Cities Mission was launched by the Hon’ Prime Minister on 25 June, 2015.
  • The Smart Cities Mission is an innovative and new initiative by the Government of India to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens

Need of Smart Cities Mission-

  • Cities accommodate nearly 31% of India’s current population and contribute 63% of GDP (Census 2011). Urban areas are expected to house 40% of India’s population and contribute 75% of India’s GDP by 2030. This requires comprehensive development of physical, institutional, social and economic infrastructure. All are important in improving the quality of life and attracting people and investment, setting in motion a virtuous cycle of growth and development. Development of Smart Cities is a step in that direction.

Objectives of smart cities mission

  • The main objective of the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environment and give a decent quality of life to their citizens through the application of ‘smart solutions’.
  • It also aims to drive economic growth and improve quality of life through comprehensive work on social, economic, physical and institutional pillars of the city.
  • The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development by creation of replicable models which act as lighthouses to other aspiring cities.
  • 100 cities have been selected to be developed as Smart Cities through a two-stage competition.

Smart City Projects-

  • The Smart Cities Mission has around 7,800 projects worth ₹1.8 lakh crore, of which more than 5,700 projects worth ₹1.1 lakh crore have been completed.
  • The Smart Cities Mission, launched in June 2015, got a year’s extension last month. Only 22 out of 100 cities have been able to finish all projects commissioned under the mission.

Implementation Mechanism

  • The implementation is monitored by an Apex Committee headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. It regularly reports on the progress of projects through the Real Time Geographical Management Information System (GMIS).
  • Smart City Advisory Forum (SCAF) has also been established at the city level to advise and enable collaboration among various stakeholders. So far, the Smart Cities have convened more than 756 meetings of SCAF.
  • For each smart city, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) has also been created to plan, appraise, approve, release funds, implement, manage, operate, monitor and evaluate the Smart City development projects. The SPV is headed by a full-time CEO and has nominees of Central and State governments and ULB on its Board.


  1. Technology Integration: Smart cities harness technology to optimize resources, enhance services, and improve governance. From efficient waste management to smart traffic systems, technology is the backbone of transformation.
  2. Infrastructure Upgradation: The mission focuses on enhancing urban infrastructure, including water supply, sanitation, energy, and transportation, to support sustainable growth and development.
  3. Citizen-Centric Approach: The emphasis is on inclusive urban planning that prioritizes citizens’ needs, ensuring their active participation in decision-making processes.
  4. Sustainability: Smart cities emphasize eco-friendly practices and resource management to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a greener future.
  5. Economic Growth: By nurturing innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation, smart cities stimulate economic growth and attract investments.

Progress and Achievements:

Since its launch, the Smart Cities Mission has made significant strides. Over 100 cities have been selected to participate, with each city formulating its unique vision and projects aligned with its specific challenges and opportunities.

  1. Integrated Command and Control Centers: Many smart cities have established integrated centers to monitor and manage various city services in real time, enhancing efficiency and responsiveness.
  2. E-Governance and Citizen Services: Digital platforms have been developed to facilitate online service delivery, citizen engagement, and transparent governance.
  3. Infrastructure Revamp: Initiatives like smart street lighting, efficient waste management systems, and improved public transportation networks have been implemented to enhance urban living.
  4. Sustainable Initiatives: Smart cities prioritize renewable energy generation, green spaces, and water conservation efforts, contributing to environmental sustainability.

Challenges and the Way Forward:

While progress has been commendable, the Smart Cities Mission faces challenges that include:

  1. Funding: Sustainable funding models are essential to ensure the continuity of projects beyond government allocations.
  2. Capacity Building: Building local expertise in urban planning, technology, and project management is crucial for successful implementation.
  3. Inclusivity: Ensuring equitable access to smart city benefits across diverse sections of society remains a challenge.

India Smart Cities Award Contest (ISAC)

  • The India Smart Cities Award Contest (ISAC) is organized under the Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India.
  • This is one of the important activities initiated under the Mission, where pioneering city strategies, projects and ideas are recognized to award the exemplary performance, enable peer-peer learning and disseminate best practices.
  • The ISAC recognizes and reward the cities, projects and innovative ideas that are promoting sustainable development across the 100 smart cities, as well as stimulating inclusive, equitable, safe, healthy and collaborative cities, thus enhancing quality of life for all.
  • In the past, the ISAC has witnessed three editions in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The fourth edition of the ISAC was launched in April 2022 during the ‘Smart Cities-Smart Urbanization’ event in Surat.
  • The ISAC 2022 award had a two-stage submission process consisting of ‘Qualifying Stage’, which involved overall assessment of the city’s performance, and the ‘Proposal Stage’ which required the smart cities to submit their nominations for six award categories as follows:
    • Project Awards: 10 different themes,
    • Innovation Awards: 2 different themes,
    • National/Zonal City Awards,
    • State Awards,
    • UT Award, and
    • Partners Awards, 3 different themes
  • This is the fourth edition of the ISAC awards. In the past, the ISAC witnessed three editions in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The 2022 edition was launched in April last year during the ‘Smart Cities-Smart Urbanisation’ event in Surat.


  • Indore has been adjudged the best Smart City while Madhya Pradesh has been chosen as the top state for exemplary performance in the Smart Cities Mission.
  • Surat and Agra are the second and third place winners among cities, while Tamil Nadu is the second in State category followed by Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in the India Smart Cities Award Contest (ISAC), 2022.
  • The award for the best Union Territory has gone to Chandigarh..

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