New Delhi : The government on Friday said cities aspiring to be included in the list for its ambitious ‘100 Smart Cities’ project need to be willing to take ‘hard decisions’ for development, PTI reports.

 “Smart city means making urban life comfortable and making living standards better. The concept means providing good governance, efficient health and education services, 24×7 power and water, efficient transport, high quality sanitation, employment to masses and robust cyber connectivity,” Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said while speaking at the national conclave of states and UTs on Smart Cities.

The meeting, attended by Ministers and Principal Secretaries of various states and UTs, discussed the draft concept note on ‘Smart Cities’. In its maiden budget, the NDA government had proposed that it would develop 100 Smart Cities in the country.

Elaborating on the attributes of smart leadership and smart people, Naidu said: “Smart leadership and smart people are essential pre-requisites for making cities smart. Smart city needs smart governance, smart leadership and smart people. Only then the concept will become successful.” “Effective urban governance requires smart leadership that is bold, initiative bearing, willing and able to take hard decisions like raising, if required, and recovering cost of services, implement reforms in governance, prevent unauthorised constructions besides removing encroachments and take on mafia,” he added.

On attributes people of smart cities should possess, Naidu said, “They should be alert, able to question, pay the cost of services, prevent fellow citizens from violating rules and demand their due…”

 Naidu also pointed out the inadequacies in the implementation of Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) that fell substantially short of physical and financial targets.

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