India’s Smart Cities Challenge: 100 Locales To Be Chosen

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced the India Smart Cities Challenge, a competition designed to inspire and support municipal officials as they develop smart proposals to improve residents’ lives. Ultimately, 100 cities will compete for government funding through program that is being conducted in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Knowledge Partner to the Ministry of Urban Development. The public can track competition progress on a website dedicated to the initiative.

As a first step in the India Smart Cities Challenge, states will nominate cities to compete. Aspirant cities will embark on a process to create a smart cities vision and generate proposals for a pan-city initiative and a comprehensive area based development. The competition aims to foster robust citizen participation as cities generate proposals.

U.S. based Bloomberg Philanthropies, which is focused on improving cities worldwide, will lend its expertise in designing and delivering large scale competitions for cities as well as its global urban expert network to support the Mission’s success.

“Prime Minister Modi recognizes the vital role cities can play in building a strong future for India, especially if local innovation is encouraged and rewarded,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Through our work around the globe, we’ve seen how effective challenges can be in helping cities design and deliver better ideas—and we’re excited about what the Government and its partners can achieve with this approach in India, home to some of the biggest and fastest growing cities in the world,”

The collaboration between the Ministry of Urban Development and Bloomberg Philanthropies for the Cities Challenge is a result of two meetings between Prime Minister Modi and Bloomberg; then subsequent staff level discussions. The two met in September 2014 when the Prime Minister visited the United States. They met again in February 2015 when Bloomberg, acting in his capacity as UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, visited Delhi and Mumbai to meet with government officials.

An overview of the timeline of the Challenge can be found here.