RTI regarding Smart Cities Mission in India

Posted by Paul Thottan at Apr 21, 2016 02:25 AM |
Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) had filed an RTI on 3 February 2016 before the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) regarding the Smart Cities Mission in India. The RTI sought information regarding the role of various foreign governments, private industry, multilateral bodies that will provide technical and financial assistance for this project and information on Government agreements regarding PPP’s for financing the project.

A response to the RTI is here.


  1. The various government, private industry and civil society actors involved in the Smart Cities Mission.
  2. The various agreements the Government has undertaken through PPP’s for financing the mission.
  3. Role of private companies in this project.
  4. The process for selecting the cities for this mission and ministry responsible for this task.
  5. The various international organisations, foreign governments and multilateral bodies that will provide technical and financial assistance for this project.

The MoUD sent its reply to the RTI application and the response is as follows:

  • With reference to the first query, the answer provided was that the mission statement and guidelines are available on the Missions website - smartcities.gov.in. This mission statement essentially envisages the role of citizens/citizen groups such as Resident Welfare Associations, Taxpayers Associations, Senior Citizens and Slum Dwellers Associations etc, apart from the government of India, States, Union Territories and Urban local bodies.
  • Regarding information about agreements for the purpose of financing the project, it has been provided in the response that the Ministry would facilitate the execution of MoU’s between Foreign Agencies and States/UT’s for assistance under this mission. The two agreements that have been executed include the MoU between the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the French Agency for Development (AFD) for the States/UT’s of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Chandigarh and Puducherry. They have also provided us with copies of the same and they have been summarised below. They also go on to state that various countries like Spain, Canada, Germany, China, Singapore, UK and South Korea have also shown interest in collaborating with the Ministry for the development of Smart Cities.
  • CIS sought the documents relating to role of private actors in this field. This information could not be provided by the Department since it was not available with them. Further, an application has been sent to the SC-III Division for providing the information directly to us.
  • As regards the fourth query, the information provided states that the role of the government, States/UT’s and Urban Local Bodies has been envisaged in para 13 of the Smart Cities Mission Statement - smartcities.gov.in
  • With respect to the query regarding the foreign actors involved, the information provided states that the documents relating to the involvement of the same are scattered in different files. Compilation of such information would divert the limited resources of the Public Authority disproportionately. Another application must be filed if any specific information is required.

Copies of several MoUs signed between Foreign Development Agencies and States (for the respective cities) that were shared with us are:

  • Memorandum of Understanding between the United States Trade and Development Agency(USTDA) and the Government of Andhra Pradesh of the Republic of India on Cooperation to support the development of Smart Cities in Andhra Pradesh-namely Visakhapatnam.
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the Government of Rajasthan of the Republic of India on Cooperation to support the development of Smart Cities in Rajasthan- namely Ajmer.
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the Government of Uttar Pradesh of the Republic of India on Cooperation to support the development of Smart Cities in Uttar Pradesh- namely Allahabad.
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Agence Francaise De Developpement and the Government of the Union Territory of Chandigarh of the Republic of India on Technical Cooperation in the field of Sustainable Urban Development.
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Agence Francaise De Developpement and the Government of Maharashtra on Technical Cooperation in the field of Sustainable Urban Development.
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Agence Francaise De Developpement and the Government of the Union Territory of Puducherry of the Republic of India on Technical Cooperation in the field of Sustainable Urban Development.

Key clauses under the MoU between the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the governments of Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are:

  • The MoU undertaken by the USTDA for the development of Visakhapatnam, Allahabad and Ajmer clearly establishes that the document only cements the intention of the body to assist in the development of these cities and funding must be addressed separately.
  • The USTDA intends to contribute specific funding for feasibility studies, study tours, workshops/training, and any other projects mutually determined, in furtherance of this interest. The USTDA will also fund advisory services for the same.
  • The USTDA will seek to bring in other US government agencies such as the Department of Commerce, the US Export Import Bank and other trade and economic agencies to encourage US-India infrastructure development cooperation and support the development of smart cities in Vishakhapatnam, Allahabad and Ajmer.
  • One of the key points the USTDA stresses on is the creation of a Smart Solutions for Smart Cities Reverse Trade Mission, where Indian delegates will get a chance to showcase their methodologies and inventions in the United States.
  • The MoU also talks about involving industry organisations in the development of Smart Cities, to address important aviation and energy related infrastructure connected to developing smart cities.
  • The respective State Governments of the cities will provide resources for the development of these smart cities, including technical information and data related to smart cities planning; staff, logistical and travel support, and state budgetary resources will be allocated accordingly.

Key clauses under the MoU between the Agency Francaise De Developpement (AFD) and the governments of Maharashtra, Chandigarh and Puducherry are:

  • The MoU with AFD is along the same lines but with more detail provided in the field of research in sustainable urban development. It comprises of four articles dealing with implementation, research, resource allocation and cooperation.
  • The AFD clearly states that it will adopt an active role in managing and implementing the project.
  • The AFD will equip the respective state governments with a technical cooperation programme which will include a pool of French experts from the public sector, complemented by experts from the private sector.
  • The MoU goes on to state the various vectors of sustainable urban development that will be the focal point of this project – urban transport, water and waste management, integrated development and urban planning, architecture and heritage, renewable energy, energy efficiency etc.
  • Apart from strategizing, the AFD looks to provide technical support as well. This technical expertise would be used to strengthen strategy and management of urban services in the city.
  • They would also play a key role in management through the creation of a Special Purpose Vehicle(SPV) to build strategic management (Human Resources, finance, potential market assessment) and capacity building for financial management.
  • As per Article II of the MoU, this support framework will be accompanied by annual reviews, a policy similar to the USTDA Smart Solutions for Smart Cities Reverse Mission with Indian and French counterparts, collaboration between academic and research institutions for the exchange of information, documentation and results of research in the field of smart cities (a key policy to establish firm research groundwork and increase cooperation and innovation), capacity building research and development.
  • Article III of the MoU deals with resource allocation wherein the respective State Governments will assist AFD by providing technical information and data related to smart cities planning, and also meet their logistical requirements.

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