Smart Cities in Asia
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Smart Cities in Asia

Governing Development in the Era of Hyper-Connectivity

Edited by Yu-Min Joo and Teck-Boon Tan

At a time when Asia is rapidly growing in global influence, this much-needed and insightful book bridges two major current policy topics in order to offer a unique study of the latest smart city archetypes emerging throughout Asia. Highlighting the smart city aspirations of Asian countries and their role in Asian governments’ new development strategies, this book draws out timely narratives and insights from a uniquely Asian context and policymaking space.
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Chapter 7: The smart city policy of India and its governance implications

Souvanic Roy and Tathagata Chatterji

Abstract

This chapter analyses the Smart Cities Mission launched by India in 2014, with the ambitious goal of transforming Indian cities into drivers of the country’s economic aspirations through big-data-intensive, techno-managerial interventions designed to improve operational efficiency of the delivery of urban services to a ‘world-class’ standard. It locates the new urban policy against the backdrop of India’s post-liberalisation nation-building narrative to understand its drivers, agencies and road map for implementation. We argue that the Smart Cities Mission is ushering in a new model of corporatised urban governance through the rubrics of public–private partnerships and special purpose vehicles, bypassing elected municipal governments. The centralised and technology-centric leapfrog development approach perpetuates dependency on expensive hardware and proprietary technologies. In the process, it fails to recognise the embedded cultural context of a place and the power relations manifested through politics, governance and competing claims. We examine and analyse this policy through the good governance framework.

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