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Smart Solutions in India: A Step Towards Developing Smart Cities

Good ideas come in many shapes and sizes, and are designed to improve quality of life. They may involve technology, institutional or managerial reforms, and the involvement of citizens. The choice of solution is only smart if it is right-sized to the challenge it aims to address; bigger isn't necessarily better.

What's The Real Mean of 'Smart City'?

A city can be defined as 'smart' when investments in human and social capital and traditional (transport) and modern (ICT) communication infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development and a high quality of life, with a wise management of natural resources, through participatory action and engagement.

Experts predict the world's urban population will double by 2050 – which means we're adding the equivalent of seven New York Cities to the planet every single year. As our planet becomes more urban, our cities need to get smarter. To handle this large-scale urbanization, we'll need to find new ways to manage complexity, increase efficiency, reduce expenses, and improve quality of life.

With this rapid growth ahead of us, imagine if our cities could talk-if they could give us live status updates on traffic patterns, pollution, parking spaces, water, power and light. Imagine how that kind of information could improve the economic and environmental health of the city for residents, merchants, and visitors. Imagine how it could improve working conditions and productivity for the people who maintain the city.

Smart City: A smart city is one that has digital technology embedded across all city functions.

Smarter City uses digital technology and information and communication technologies (ICT) to better quality and performance this engage more effectively and actively with its citizen. The Smart City includes government services, transport, traffic management, energy, health care, water and waste.

Case Studies – A Step towards a Smarter India

Case Study 1:


To help citizens plan better, Hubli partnered with a civic startup to develop an system that would alert residents 30 minutes in advance that water was about to be released for their neighborhood.

The Problem

Water supply is unpredictable in many cities across India. The citizens of Hubli in Karnataka, too, do not have access to a regular supply of water. In many neighborhoods, water is not available for days, affecting the quality of life of residents. Predicting when an area would receive water is difficult because the municipality does not have the resources to update neighborboods on time.

The Solution

Hubli city partnered with NextDrop, a Bangalore-based civic startup, to alert residents about the availability of water in their households. Valvemen, responsible for turning water on, notify an automated system when they are about to release water for a neighborhood. The system sends the information to NextDrop, which in turn sends a text message to residents that have subscribed to a 10-rupee service that water would be available within 30 minutes.

The Results

Over 25,000 households in Hubli have signed up for the service. With access to timely information, users of the service find it easier to make necessary arrangements for storing water. The system has improved efficiency and allowed for better access to water.


Case Study 2:


The Problem

A 2005 water audit by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation recorded water losses at 62%. Energy costs in 2004-05 were 21.1 crore rupees, accounting for nearly 50% of the city's water operation and maintenance. The city knew that it had to improve its energy management, both to save resources and to help prolong the life of the city's water supply equipment.

The Solution

After the audit, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation's initiated a study of its water situation that found that pumping system efficiency was low and there was significant potential to both increase energy efficiency and decrease operational costs. The audit recommended setting up an automated water management system. Based on the recommendation, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation rationalized water distribution and pumping systems to reduce static and friction. It replaced old, inefficient pumps with energy efficient pumps; improved pump machinery; and installed remote monitoring systems to operate the pumps at prescribed efficiency levels.

The Results

The city's strategy led to a 106.96 Kwh / MLD reduction in energy consumption. It also helped the city to recover 7 MLD of backwash water and save more than 10 crore rupees in operation and management costs. Pumping efficiency rose from 40% to 75%. The Nagpur Municipal Corporation's experience shows that a structured approach, specific investment funding, and timely implementation can help to achieve tangible savings.


Case Study 3


The Problem:

Citizens were reporting problems with garbage delivery, road maintenance, and street lighting to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), but the city faced difficulties responding to all citizen complaints in a timely manner.

The Solution

The GMHC established an online complaints and reviews system to improve services available to citizens. The system includes 4,687 citizen service centers, a 48-hour response deadline and an additional crowd complaint option that allows multiple people to escalate a complaint by contacting local officials and lodging any grievances. The government also makes 12 monitoring vehicles responsible for monitoring 2,000 kilometers of Hyderabad. These vehicles gather photographic and video evidence to help government identify and address local problems.

The Results
The complaints system enabled the GHMC commissioner and other senior officials to closely monitor services including garbage delivery, manhole coverage, street lighting, stray dogs, toilet facilities, potholes and illegal constructions. Today, 30% of complaints to GHMC are made online, and the government has also launched a mobile app in partnership with the private sector that will make reporting grievances even easier.


Case Study 4


The Problem

In 2011, more than 50% of homes in Mumbai did not have toilets, meaning a large proportion of the population depended on public toilets. The result: toxic bacteria in the air and the water, which spreads disease.

The Solution

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and community-based agencies worked together with communities to install 330 modern and technological "toilet blocks" – including 5,100 toilet seats.

The Results

Mumbai's Slum Sanitation Program created enough sanitary facilities to serve 400,000 people in the slums of Mumbai, improving the health of citizens and infrastructure of the city. The new facilities received a 15% higher approval rating from citizens than the contract-run toilets they replaced.

Source by Jaspreet Singh

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