NEW DELHI: All India Institute of Local Self-Government (AIILSG) in partnership with the World Bank organized a workshop on ‘Capacity Building for Digital Strategies and Smart Solutions for Smart Cities in India’ on November 30, 2018, at the World Bank – New Delhi office.
Yaduvendra Mathur (IAS), Additional Secretary, Niti Ayog was the chief guest of the event. Talking on the theme he expressed his views on various issues such as on mobility he gave an example to build ring-roads to prevent the congestion on the city roads. He mentioned Urban Sprawl as a probable solution to decentralize city population to prevent the densifying of cities. Mathur also discussed on the need to improve GIS mapping by developing a better system and inculcating data to capture the actual addresses. Sharing his insight on the aspects of subsidies he said, “Principle of subsidiarity is – taxes should be collected closest from where it is used.” Finally, he concluded by saying, “Let’s build cities connecting to the global value chain.”
Rajiv Agarwal, Director General, AIILSG, began with the opening address for the workshop. He expressed his views saying that the AIILSG is well placed to achieve SDGs 2030. He was glad that World Bank and AIILSG have joined hands together for the workshop to help participants to draw out conclusions on the need for capacity building in their cities.
Dr Shashak Ojha, Task Team Leader, The World Bank, in his welcome remarks addressed the gathering on capacity building and expressed his views on the Smart City Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). He said that a smart city is all about integrating infrastructure and digital development together. Dr Ojha emphasized on the development of a common digital platform for all the departments. A common digital platform which can be accessed and used by all. As an example he named South Korea and said, “In South Korea – Smart City model, each asset like traffic lights, ambulance, etc. owned by Municipal Corporations are digitally, centrally controlled. Are we ready for such models?”
This session was a round-table conference with the focus agenda – ‘Key challenges in urban service delivery with focus on digital strategies and smart solutions’. Vikas Kanungo, Senior Consultant, The World Bank and Pravin Bhardwaj, Subject Matter Expert, AIILSG, chaired the session. Opening the session, Pravin Bhardwaj laid down few points to initiate the discussion such as the requirement for capacity building, need to draw out personalized conclusions for each city, etc. Emphasising on the significance of a smart city he said that a ‘Smart City’ is a lighthouse for other cities. Representatives from various cities participated in the discussion putting forward the issues they face in their cities.
Swayandipta Pal Chaudhri, CEO, Panaji Smart City, put forward the importance of training programs for leaders. Sanjay Kumar Singh, CEO, Bhopal Smart City, contributed to the discussion by raising up a concern that Bhopal is heading towards a crunch of funds. Data management is another vertical we need to work on, he added. Dr Saswat Bandhyopadhyay, Professor at CEPT University, Ahmedabad, raised his concerns that digital platforms and smart solutions are not the only requirement but also a means to provide smart solutions. He interestingly quotes, “Urban guys are learning smart solutions and Smart guys are learning urban solutions,” there is a need to balance the two. Smart City is comprised of both the aspects – the ‘Smart’ and the ‘City’. Abhay Gupta, Additional CEO, Gwalior Smart City laying out his concerns said that there is a need of paradigm shift as the officials now have to work with the consultants and not the contractors. A K Gupta, Director, RCUES, said that PMCs have experts who are not capable enough to work in the digital framework. Government officials who are a part of the project need to be trained on how corporates work. Abhijit Chatterjee, Team Leader, PMC, Raipur said that there is a lack of domain expertise.
This session was an activity based on World Café Format. All the participants were divided into six teams and were asked to discuss and put forward their point of views on six topics each. For the first topic – Best Practices and Exposure Visits, the teams concluded that seeing is believing. Exposure visits is the best practice one can adopt for better learning and understanding. Other practices preferred were on the job training, need based training and learning from other SPVs. Discussion on the topic – Project Structure and Finance laid out certain points such as a need to develop policies and system to attract finance for the project. The participants discussed on the topic – Project Design and Planning and concluded that data procurement process like IoT, GIS, MIS and use of digital technology for scenario building process/ data standardization should be used for better outcomes. Operation and Maintenance was another topic for discussion where the participants summarized the topic in few points – development of better revenue generation models, monetization of WiFi facility, and development of city data exchange platform. Discussions under the topic – Municipalities vs Corporates were more focused on the need of training programs for the municipality officials. Also a need for more expert professionals for
This session was a panel discussion chaired by Dr Shashank Ojha. Discussion was centred on ‘Capacity Building Initiatives and Strategies – Insights from Global and National best practices’. Dr Ojha initiated the discussion highlighting the effective use of ICT and digital solutions. He emphasized on digitizing door plates for mapping individual addresses, usage of drones for collecting data and regular mapping to monitor changes occurring throughout the city. Database maintenance and management on a common digital platform was his major concern. Dr Saswat Bandhyopadhyay, the first speaker of the session, said that one city should learn from another city. There is a need to build capacity in how a city is learning. We need to evolve a hybrid module where part of it should be a classroom training session, part of it should be online training and part of it should be on the job training, he added.
A K Gupta, took over the discussion ahead and said that now the focus is to build digital infrastructure. There is a big need for capacity building on digital platforms. We need policy reforms to attract more training programs. Alok Shiromany, Municipal Financial Management Expert, the third speaker of the session, supporting the need to develop centralised common digital database said that the data can be monetized to several agencies for traffic management, ambulance services, fire department, and more, on theneed to knoe basis. By innovative financing and smart analysis, project costs and operation costs can be brought down. Supporting the argument of mapping he said that capacity building is needed for GIS layering, mapping for area wise development.
Harpal Dave, the next panelist, said that there is a need to develop better communication systems and digital platforms. He also discussed on the requirement for training programs for officials. Siddharth Pandit, Team Leader, CIDCO-NIUA, Smart City Lab, focused his discussion on training programs. He emphasized that there is a need to conduct frequent and need based or demand driven courses. There is a need for policy reforms for the better implementation of training programs to achieve greater outcomes.
Pashim Tewari, Technical Director, AIILSG presented a report of Key findings from Interim Report on ‘Capacity Building Need Assessment on Digital Strategies and Solutions’ for selected 25 smart cities.