venkaiah-naidu3Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi along with Kanpur and Agra are among the 27 urban centres, chosen on Tuesday to be developed as smart cities, under the NDA government’s ambitious plan for an urban overhaul.

Three cities from Samajwadi Party ruled Uttar Pradesh that goes to poll next year, were picked.

Two other cities from poll bound Punjab -Amritsar and Ludhiana –too made it to the third list announced by Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday.


India plans to have 100 such cities by 2022. Sixty have been chosen, including 20 in January and 13 in May, the remaining will be picked by 2018. Meant to change the way urban India lives, smart cities will enjoy uninterrupted power and water supplies, internet connectivity, e-governance along with quality infrastructure.

While no city from West Bengal and Bihar found mention in the third list, BJP ruled states are the biggest beneficiaries. Of the 27, ten cities are from states where the ruling party is in power. This includes Maharashtra (Thane, Nashik, Nagpur, Kalyan Dombivali and Aurangabad), Madhya Pradesh (Gwalior and Ujjain), Rajasthan (Kota and Ajmer) and Gujarat (Vadodara).

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Only four cities – Hubbali-Dharwad, Managaluru, Shivamogga and Tumkaru – are from Congress ruled Karnataka. While Rourkela was the lone city from BJD ruled Odisha that made the cut, AIADMK ruled Tamil Nadu got four cities – Madurai, Salem, Thanjavur and Vellore.

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Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, where NDA ally Telugu Desam Party is in power, also made it to the third list. So did two other states ruled by NDA allies — Sikkim (Namchi) and Nagaland (Kohima).

The total investment in 27 cities that will be developed as “smart” is envisaged at about Rs 66,883 crore.

Smart cities are picked though a two-stage process. In the first stage, a state shortlists potential cities and send the names to the Centre. In the second round, these nominated cities compete with each other.

The Centre will give Rs 48,000 crore for five years for the programme. Each city will get Rs 100 crore per year. A matching fund of Rs 48,000 crore will have to be contributed by states from their internal resources/ market borrowing and through private sector.

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