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“You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.”

– Italo Calvino

Editor’s Note, May 2019

The objective of India’s Smart Cities Mission is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of Smart Solutions. From our point of view, applying the smart water and waste solutions would be an integral part of this mission.

Currently, all 100 Smart Cities selected for the first phase of this mission have established their Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs), and constituted their City Level Advisory Forum (CLAF). The plans announced by the Government of India for 100 smart cities and 500 Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) cities are currently being implemented in a structured approach towards urban management.

As per the 2018 year-end report issued by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, for Smart Water, projects worth Rs. 902 crore in 18 cities have been completed, projects worth Rs. 5,961 crore in 35 cities are under progress, projects worth Rs. 921 crore in 17 cities are already tendered.

The Government of India had launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) in 2014 for a 5-year period with the objective of achieving 100% Open Defecation Free (ODF) status and putting in place systems to achieve 100% solid waste management in all Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in the country. We have yet to see the results before we analyze its performance.

Among other developments, the Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had signed a USD 240 million loan in October 2018 for providing safe and sustainable drinking water to about 1.65 million people in three districts of the state of West Bengal affected by arsenic, fluoride, and salinity. The project aims to support the state government in strengthening its smart water management system, improve flood-related early warning and response, and provide training on operation and maintenance as well as climate change, and disaster resilience.

Hardeep Puri, Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) in the central government rightly pointed out a couple of months ago, “The time has come when the need for the city governments to take digital leadership has become more pronounced. Making cities Data Smart is key in realizing the full potential of technology interventions and innovation ecosystems in cities.”

In this (May 2019) issue, my first recommendation is the interview with Dr. Ramnath Sonawane in the Water Dialogue section. He talks about the ongoing initiatives of Nagpur Smart City on 24×7 water supply, the concept of TenderSURE, and digitalization of water and wastewater network. You should also read the ‘Market Insight’ column by Deepthi Sugumar from Frost and Sullivan. She has focused on ‘Smart Technologies in Plastic Packaging Waste Management for Smart Cities’. She gives good insights into the role of IoT and Big Data in plastic packaging waste management. The examples of Smartbin, Reverse Vending Machines, TrashBot are fascinating.

– Mayur Sharma
Editor, Smart Water & Waste World Magazine

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