NEW DELHI — Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Jan. 28 announced the names of the first 20 cities that will be developed into smart cities in 2016.

They are Bhubaneswar (Odisha), Pune (Maharashtra), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Surat (Gujarat), Kochi (Kerala), Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Sholapur (Maharashtra), Davangere (Karnataka), Indore (Madhya Pradesh), New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC, Delhi), Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh), Belagavi (Karnataka), Udaipur (Rajasthan), Guwahati (Assam), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Ludhiana (Punjab) and Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh).

These cities were chosen from 98 cities shortlisted for the ‘Smart Cities Mission.’

“These 20 cities will be the first to receive funds, hence kickstarting the process of developing them into ‘smart cities.’ The next two years will see the inclusion of 40 and 38 cities more,” Naidu said at a press conference here.

“In terms of population, these 20 cities account for 3.54 crore people. A total investment of Rs. 50,802 crore has been proposed in the selected smart cities and towns during the five-year period,” he said.

“The Smart City Mission marks a paradigm shift towards urban development in the country, since it is based on the ‘bottom up’ approach with the involvement of citizens in the formulation of the city vision and smart city plans, and the urban local bodies and state governments piloting the mission with little say for the ministry of urban development,” he added.

Naidu also said that the winners were from 11 states and the Union Territory of Delhi, and the selection was objective and transparent based on standardized processes.

The minister noted that the 23 states and union territories who could not make it to the list of winners will get an opportunity to participate in a ‘fast track competition.’

“Each top ranking city from these left out states can upgrade their smart city proposals and submit them by April 15 this year for inclusion in the mission,” said the minister.

“Smart cities need to be inclusive, sustainable and effective engines of growth, fulfilling the aspiration of Young India,” Naidu added.

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