Mains Paper 2:National
Prelims level: Smart Cities Mission
Mains level: Objectives of the Smart Cities Mission
Of all the lessons that the pandemic has taught a civilisation that had
become improbably confident of its beliefs, perhaps the most unsettlingis
that the most technologically capable nations cannot protect the lives and
health of their citizens from a medieval plague.
It follows that a political culture and economic system invested in the
ideal of ever-increasing GDP must invest more in the health of its citizens,
who power the engine of growth.
Historically, India has hesitatedto invest adequately in school
education and health, the twin foundations of a mature society, and these
sectors remained neglected even by the reforms process.
Now, it appears that even the newest innovation for optimising spaces
and communities for growth, the Smart Cities Mission, hasn’t understood the
foundational importance of health.
Poor figures of investment in heath:
The figures are appalling. Only 1.18 per cent of the 5,861 projects
okayed since 2015 are for augmenting infrastructure and capability in
In fiscal terms, they account for only 1.03 per cent of the volume
invested by the Mission.
Plumbing an abyssalnadirin the importance accorded to health, this is
even lower than the shamefully inadequate 1.6 per cent of GDP which the
states and the Centre together set aside for health in 2019-20.
For comparison, the total health expenditure in the US in 2017 was
As the Mission clarifies on its website, a smart city has no absolute
The term originated among Western planners to describe a city which uses
Internet of Thingsdata to optimise its services.
The Indian ministry of housing and urban affairs mentions this aspect in
only one of the eight features it lists for a smart city.
The rest focus on urban planning strategies for quality of life, such as
reducing pollution and improving land use.
Health is mentioned only in one point, which discusses urban identity
conferred through local economic activities like making sports goods and
hosiery, and providing medical facilities.
Health is not acknowledged as the substrate of productivity.
Internet of Things:
Internet of Things (IOT) is system of interrelated computing devices,
mechanical and digital machines provided with unique identifiers and the
ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or
We can only hope that the pandemic drives the point home, and the
Mission pivots to health.
Smart Cities Mission, which was to approach urban planning creatively,
perpetuatesthe traditional neglect of health.
Q1. With reference to the emission norms for L7 (Quadricycle) category for
BS VI, consider the following statements: 1. The central government had introduced the quadricycle segment in 2018 and
approved it for both commercial and private use.
2. The Ministry of Road Transport describes quadricycle as a vehicle the size of
a three-wheeler but with four tyres and fully covered like a car.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2