We will neglect our cities to our peril, for in neglecting them we neglect the nation. This quote from John F Kennedy acquires a completely new meaning amid today’s successive Governments’ focus on urbanization as a conduit of economic development and growth. Smart and sustainable cities replete with robust systems running on latest technologies is the dream our Government aims to turn into reality with its Smart Cities Mission.
Launched in the year 2015 this ambitious mission encompasses 109 cities with an aim to provide citizens systematic and well planned infrastructure, uninterrupted and clean power and water supply, robust public transport system, basic civic amenities, ultra-fast communication network, smart public utility services, access to savvy technology, improved quality of life and economic opportunities.
So far, a total of 90 cities have been selected by the Government under the scheme over a span of four rounds with the next announcement regarding 10 more cities slated to be made in January, 2018. Each city will get Rs. 500 crore as central assistance for implementing projects.
The concept of smart city was coined by IBM through its Smart Planet Initiative in the year 2008 and as it gained traction, many countries like China, Europe and South Korea outlined massive investments for their cities to make them futuristic.
In its bid to identify and award innovative ideas and sustainable solutions by cities, states and industry alike, BW Businessworld along with a panel of distinguished jury members from Government and private sector unanimously deliberated on the participants and shared the final winners list with the BW organising team. BW Businessworld though abstained from the process, but did participate in the jury meet as a non-voting member facilitating the decision making process.
Our knowledge partner PwC set the nomination and screening process diligently to identify the most deserving projects and innovations in each category and make a final shortlist of the deserving winners for each group. A total of 130 entries were received out which PwC shortlisted 79 nominations.
The methodology our knowledge partner emphasised on while deciding on the initial entries was through open nominations which were the first step in this process where the projects were invited via event microsite of bit.ly/BWSCDelhi, then the first round filtering was done wherein all nominations were checked for completeness and validity by BW Smart Cities team after which the second round filtering was done where the nominations were shortlisted by PwC Smart Cities Team.
The final step in the process was the jury meet. The eminent jury panellists included- Vinit Goenka, Member-Governing council- CRIS, Ministry of Railways, Member-Taskforce IT- Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and Ex-National Co-Convener, IT Cell, Bharatiya Janta Party, Tarun Shankar, Infrastructure Investments-Asia, International Finance Corporation- World Bank Group, Vikas Chopra, COO- Egis India Consulting Engineers Pvt. Ltd and K Yatish Rajawat, Startup Strategist, Building Digital Communities, Media, Policy Analyst and Columnist- Firsrpost.com, BW Businessworld and Rajya Sabha TV.
The judges analysed the entries across 15 different dimensions of urban life for innovative smart solutions in environmental protection, technology, knowledge & intellectual, safety & security, smart initiatives, cleanliness drives, innovative logos, social media apps, healthcare, accessibility & mobility, infrastructure and public-private partnership model. One private and one Government sector project winner was finalised as a winner in each category.
Explaining the rationale behind the selection, the jury members laid emphasis on different parameters to weigh upon the list and finalise the winners. Vineet Goenka said, “My first main emphasis was a project’s impact on humanity. Technology can actually change a lot through its impact on humanity. The second aspect was transparency and public expectation arrest, how much can a project or innovation reduce the public expenditure and third was the quality of life which is what I looked into while deciding on the winners.”
Explaining his criterion, K Yatish Rajawat explained, “One of the biggest considerations for me was the impact a project or application has on people i.e., it should cover the maximum number of populace for whom it is intended and the second parameter was that there should be something more to a project than just the execution on a set up framework.”
Tarun Shankar also stated, “For a country as big and diverse as India, what is important is the scalability of concepts and the projects that are being positioned for the nominations and to that extent what I looked into was the scalability and the pace at which they could be implemented. Those were the two main areas I considered while shortlisting and selecting the winners for the awards.”
Last but not the lease, Vikas Chopra opined,” The yardstick I evaluated the projects on was the technologies and innovations which could impact the masses, also in terms of innovation how we can integrate a lot of these technologies together to reduce the carbon footprint. It means the consolidation of various technologies under one umbrella to assess their impact on the liveability which means how they can increase the liveability or how the liveability index could be monitored and increased in the near future.”
BW Businessworld in association with SAP and Yes Bank will be hosting the 5th Smart Cities Conclave & Awards, the most definitive and influential gathering of the Smart Cities Ecosystem to discuss the way forward and recognize the best work from the cities, states and industry. The event is slated to be held on December 20, 2017 at The Imperial, Janpath, New Delhi.
The BW Businessworld Smart Cities conclave & Awards is a platform that endeavours to engage smart cities thought leaders and innovators to bring forth smart and sustainable ideas that can link our progressive cities to solutions that are best suited for them.
Stay tuned to this space for the highlights of the conclave and the announcement of winners.