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Cut-throat competition to develop Smart Cities in India

Submitted by scc india staff on September 25, 2015

Smart City plans will be evaluated in the second stage of Smart City Challenge competition based on bottom-up planning – extensive consultations with the citizens and the chosen Consulting Firm, and their economic and environmental impacts.

As the selected 98 cities are fearfully preparing for the second round, the consulting firms are fiercely competing to be selected as the consultant.

The chosen Consulting Firm will be assisting Local Urban Development Authority and the State Government in preparing and delivering a Smart Cities Proposal (SCP) for the Smart Cities Challenge, which is expected to be submitted to the government of India by the end of December 2015.

The Selection Process For Round II

The Union ministry of urban development will select top 20 entries to be developed as smart cities by the end of this year and will get a funding of Rs 100 crore a year for the next five years to provide core infrastructure, improve quality of life, and offer a clean and sustainable environment.

Each city will compete with the rest of the 97 short-listed smart cities to make it to the list of 20-cities whose development will be taken up in the first phase.

The proposed smart cities will be selected in three phases, 20 this year and 39 each in the subsequent years. Non-selected cities will be asked to show improvement in the identified areas before they could participate in the next two rounds of the competition.

Some of the Consulting Firms in the race

Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India has region-wise shortlisted a list of 11 consulting firms for nine regions of India to choose the final consultant to prepare the smart cities development plans.

The empanelled consulting firms include international consulting firms such as Accenture, McKinsey, Deloitte, PwC, ARUP, AECOM, KPMG, and local firms such as Alia Consulting Solution, Vansh Infotech, Akara Research, etc.

The ministry has now released Rs 2 crore for each of the selected city, to prepare and submit a detailed plan by the end of the year in collaboration with city planners, consultants or whomsoever the civic bodies deem fit.

City-wise selected Consultants so far

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation proposes to appoint Knight Frank (India) Pvt Limited as consultant to prepare the Integrated Smart City Development Plan for Hyderabad, in association with Fortress Infrastructure Services and PSP Financial Consultants Pvt Ltd.

Of the empanelled 11 consultants for four states, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa, the GHMC selected the consultant on the basis of the technical and financial scores in its proposals, and GHMC will pay the consultants around Rs 70 lakh to prepare the smart cities concept plans, according to the Indian Express report.

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) shortlisted McKinsey and Company as consultant, based on technical and financial scores, to prepare the smart city plan (SCP) focusing on improving financial status of local city-level body, using new techniques.

PMC was suppose to pay Rs 2 crore to McKinsey for preparing the plans in a time span of 100 days, according to a Times of India report.

The Bombay High Court has put a stay on PMC decision due to petition filed by a group of elected members and civic activists, against the high fees as the lowest bid was Rs 82 lakh.

However, standing committee chairman Ashwini Kadam rationalized the consultant appointment saying that the committee concentrated on quality to give Pune chance to be selected in the top 20, according to the newspaper report.

The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) is working on appointing the suitable consultancy firm and has estimated cost of the assignment as Rs 40 lakh to be completed in 100 days.

Madhya Pradesh has inked PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) as a consultant from the empanelled list for assisting in preparation of the proposal for Bhopal Smart City project. Outbidding the contenders, PWC the lowest bidder won the competition.

The capital town of Bhopal will be first Smart City if the proposal and funds are arranged. Besides Bhopal, other towns namely Indore, Jabalpur, Satna, Sagar and Ujjain have figured among the list of 98 cities announced by Central government.

The Bhopal Municipal Corporation has floated its Smart City plan which has certain strategic components to develop smart city; improvement (retrofitting more intensive infrastructure services), city renewal (redevelopment of existing built up environment) and city extension (Greenfield development with smart solutions through innovative planning, financing, plan implementation and affordable housing) and a Pan-city initiative in which selected smart solutions are applied existing city-wide infrastructure using IT advancements.

MMRDA has envisaged implementation of e-Governance and has appointed Accenture as e-Governance consultant for Mumbai. It comprised of Phase-I of basic IT Infrastructure and Phase-II of Advanced Initiatives including ERP, Smart BKC, Enterprise GIS, Digital MMR etc.

Information technology giants such as IBM, CISCO, Infosys, TCS, and Microsoft are alongside offering technical consulting services for public good. One such example is that IBM has selected Surat, Allahabad, and Vizag among the 16 cities for its Smart Cities programme of 2015-16 offering support to address various challenges.

By the end of 2016, IBM estimates to make such grants to more than 130 cities, with nearly 800 of IBM top experts delivering pro bono services valued at more than USD 66 million. "For the first time, in addition to providing pro bono consulting services, IBM will use IBM Watson Analytics Professional Edition to help take the city's pulse”, as expressed on social media.

There are multiple stakeholders involved in the formulation of the smart cities in India. There is cut-throat competition not only among the consultants to develop the smart cities plans, but also among the city municipal corporations to qualify the city in the first round of 20 cities developed as the first smart cities in India.

Also read:

GVMC selects AECOM in race to top 20 smart cities

Knight Frank & associates to draft GHMC Smart City proposals

Haryana signs contract with US firms on Smart Cities

Consultants to guide city development plans