Smart city project to get a branded look soon
NEW DELHI: Wary of state governments taking political advantage of Modi government’s flagship Smart City initiative, the Centre has started a branding exercise to own up the mega urban renewal programme.
The urgency to start branding exercise stems from the fact that opposition party-ruled states like Odisha and UP are moving swiftly on the BJP government’s programme.
Of the 20 cities chosen under the project in the first round, Odisha’s capital Bhubaneswar had topped the list. The city was the first to kickstart a special purpose vehicle (SPV) and appoint the chief executive officer to formally launch the programme.
Though not even a single UP city could figure in the first list of 20 smart cities, the state has still formed SPVs in 12 cities to develop them as smart cities.
According to sources, the problem of credit is similar to what Congress-led UPA government faced after introduction of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme when states took credit for the scheme.
To avoid this, the Centre is planing to conduct familiarisation trips of city administrators, citizen walk-throughs at project sites and popularisation of the project’s butterfly logo to build the “Smart City” brand as their own. The urban development ministry has roped in Bloomberg Philanthropies and National Institute of Urban Affairs to help in building a brand for PM Modi’s pet initiative.
Officials familiar with the move said other cities’ administrators would also be invited to see how trademark projects are being implemented.
A ministry spokesperson told ET, “The idea is primarily to further strengthen the bondage between the idea of a smart city and the people. We are looking at smart cities as an indicator of urban revival.”