A SMART CITY OPPORTUNITY CALLED DELHI
This is co-written by Dr. Udit Raj (Ex-IRS), Member of Parliament, NWest Delhi
“The best way to predict the future is to design it”
This quote is so apt when we look at the potential of developing Outer Delhi as India’s first Greenfield Smart city. It’s a real possibility, as Delhi as all the qualifications required to be developed Smartly.
Yes, I am the Member of Parliament from NW-Delhi, the most potential & abundant part of Delhi to be smartly developed. However, my argument is on a rational basis, and in support, I have bracketed the reasons thereof into 05 buckets.
- History & importance
Every country in the world develops & showcases the historical & administrative importance of their capital. India can preserve Delhi’s rich heritage, and build a modern smart city in the outer part. Being the capital, it would always preserve political stability & foster a secure investment climate. There’s an impending need for Delhi to meet its obligation towards the growing population, and not allow the capital to be developed in a haphazard unauthorized manner.
- Land under Delhi master plan 2021 & Land pooling
Surprising as it may sound, my constituency of NW-Delhi alone has >32000 Hectares of land available for planned urbanization, under the notified Delhi master plan 2021. Majority of the farmers & land owners are aware of the operational mechanism of Land pooling policy, and would be willing to partake in the development process.
Delhi would be the first state with 100% urbanization under MPD 2021, and there are resources to create a surge in supply of affordable housing stock.
- Smart resources
Smart cities are nothing but smart planning, smart implementation process, by smart people, for smart economic activity and smart living. Delhi has an advantageous location, good people resources and affluence. Delhi as 87% literacy through 5200 schools, 210 higher education institutes and about 100 technical institutes. Almost 63% of revenue comes through the service sector, and a significant portion of the balance through wholesale trade.
Delhi should be Power surplus, with availability of water from the Yamuna, which flows through NW-Delhi. A robust mechanism is easier to install on sanitation, urban waste management and efficient urban mobility. The planners have already built in these elements into the Delhi master plan 2021.
People at large are aspirational & hardworking, and upwardly mobile. Delhi not just desires to be a smart city, but also demands so. There are almost a lakh family which migrate into the State every year, and the forecasted population of this city state of 1483 sq. Kms is 2.36 crores.
- Policy & Governance
Delhi is the seat of governance for the country, and the positive outlook that prevails at the Union of India, can pursue an aggressive development agenda for a Smart city @ outer Delhi. The Delhi development authority (DDA) has already notified the many regulations governing future development, and the state govt. need to contribute it’s bit.
Under the recently announced marquee policies of the Govt. of India, Delhi can outlay a robust IT & digitalization roadmap, and the topography favours the same.
- Industry & Investments
Whenever I have interacted with the Industry captains, I have been given the impression that Delhi figures amongst the top preference as an investment destination. Most also do own properties in Delhi, with the future in mind. Multi-national institutional investors would be willing to loosen their purse strings owing to the peaceful law & Order situation, and the high IRR forecasted.
Here are some facts to be considered.
- (Probably) the fastest growing state economy
- Highest per capita income
- Highest investment on infrastructure amongst metros
- Worlds largest metro rail by 2025
- Well networked with every part of the world
- Willingness of the Industry to Partner & develop Delhi as a Knowledge driven Industrial hub
Delhi is ready to contribute towards transforming itself into India’s first Greenfield Smart city; and awaits collective action from elected leaders & bureaucracy. I’m drawing their attention back to this opportunity.
I am reminded of a quote ~ “Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.”
The author(s), Dr. Udit Raj, member of Parliament from North West Delhi, and Ramesh Menon collaborated on the PM’s flagship plan of Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana to adopt a village in Delhi for holistic development