Ninety cities in India are receiving funding for the smart city mission, with the total investment estimated at INR 1,892.6 billion (USD 29 billion). In economic terms it is a wise decision as it will help 95 million people of India, by providing shelter and even jobs in terms of construction.
Every initiative goes through rough patches, but the smart city campaign has gone through beyond normal difficult times. Natural calamities such as devastating floods in major cities such as Mumbai and Chennai have not only killed lots of people but also put the smart city campaign on hold. Heatwaves have also risen in Indian cities such as Hyderabad due to global warming and this has resulted in less work being completed.
The government is not taking measures of proper planning in terms of drainages and providing shelter has led to millions of lives being affected due to these natural disasters.
The future looks dim as these climate related disasters will increase at a higher rate. Heat waves are expected to be hotter and the floods will become more intense due to heavier rainfall.
The time has come for the government to second think funds being utilised for smart city campaigns and focus their money, time and energy on climate resilience. There has been no focus on climate in the major or minor cities of India, which proves to be a crucial point!
What can be done? Water security will give the people of India plenty of water for drinking, improved housing will help the poor take shelter in times of heavy rains and the sewage management will help reduce the severe flooding
Studies have proven that disaster resilience is less spent on compared to other areas of funding. INR 250 was spent between 2010 and 2016 by the Muncipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai for sewage and sanitation. The government needs to get their acts right, and not waste resources on unnecessary implementations and focus on the important natural disasters before it becomes too late.