As the BJP government completes its five years of governance, it’s time to evaluate all those promises made during this journey. The 2014 elections were fought on the developmental agenda solely. Has India actually become en route towards development? Have things eased out for citizens who want to take a plunge in India’s growth in IN market? How much support has the government been able to provide to its flagship mission?
Here we introduce a series analyzing Modi government’s flagship schemes, their stories for implementation, success and failure etc.
Smart City Mission
Launched in 2015, the mission’s aim was to create 100 smart cities, improve the quality of life for urban residents and steer rapid urbanization in India. It proposes to do this by using technology and data-driven solutions to promote investment and growth in cities.
With India’s urban population expected to reach 600 million by 2031, an increase of nearly 40 per cent from 2011, the necessity for urban development expounded so as to ensure a smooth transition of tier II and tier III cities to a predominantly urban economy.
For this, the Union government agreed to give each of the selected cities Rs 100 crore every year for five years, with an equal contribution coming from the state government and the urban local body combined.
Among the projects in SCM was affordable housing, integrated multi-modal transport, creation and preservation of open spaces, and waste and traffic management, among others. The projects focus either on a particular area of the city or the entire city.
SMC is carried out through a special purpose vehicle (SPV), registered under the Companies Act, 2013, instead of through a municipal corporation, and also encourages private investment.
The government did not prescribe any particular model to be adopted by the Smart Cities. Each city had to formulate its own concept, vision, mission and plan (proposal) for a Smart City that is appropriate to its local context, resources and levels of ambition.
Cities prepare Smart City Proposals (SCP) using the principles of the strategic planning process and the proposals contain area-based development plans and pan-city initiatives
The future we want includes cities with opportunities, clean air, adequate infrastructure and access to basic services for all.
Developing infrastructure takes a longer period compared to provide amenities for those works. However, infrastructural projects were initiated in several cities including metro projects, electrification and cleanliness. Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Lucknow are some cities where metro rail have been started, easing the travelling.
It was presumed that the smart cities created will be an inspiration to all other cities in the country. The smart city models act like a “lighthouse” for aspiring cities, an example that can be replicated both within and outside the bounds of the Smart Cities.
Start-Up India Mission
One of the most successful projects of the Modi government, Startup India encouraged entrepreneurs to come up with their startup plans. The campaign was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 16th of October, 2016. The motive behind this campaign was to encourage entrepreneurship in our country and encourage startups with job creations.
The Standup India initiative also aimed to promote entrepreneurship among SCs/STs and women communities.
India ranks 3rd globally in the startup industry with 4200 registered startups.
To boost the startup atmosphere in India, the government set up new incubators across the country on the public-private partnership mode along with the Start-Up India hub for any queries about recognition as a ‘startup’, incubators, funding or avail tax benefits. The hub has handled about 25,000 queries from startups through telephone, email and Twitter
The campaign became a good start for the startup industry in India. Household women started to work as entrepreneurs. The developments being made with time will bring the industry to its goal.
There is a realisation that a robust economy in the 21st century ought to be premised on innovation. In a young country where millions are job seekers, the government launched this mission so that the young generation becomes the job creators from being the job seekers. With large corporates no longer creating many jobs, startups became the only hope for the government worried about jobless growth.
The Modi government had cut through many of the procedural bottlenecks businesses which enabled India to jump 30 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings to break into the top 100 nations.
Many of its successful schemes, like fund of funds, was replicated by states.
Atal Innovation Mission was initiated with a Rs 500 crore corpus, under NITI Aayog, funding the private and government outfits and programmes. It magnified the scope of innovative set-ups to become a successful startup with the help of government funding.
Atal Tinkering Lab initiated to instil innovation in schools and identify the innovative minds by organising boot camps, challenges and tech fests.
Atal Incubator Centres: 101 incubators to nurture over 25 startups each every 18-24 months.
The Smart Cities Mission and the Start Up Mission were welcome steps by the NDA government. But unless any scheme is coupled with governance reforms, these will only be limited to some anecdotal success stories.