Dharamsala, New Town in Kolkata, Lucknow and Bhagalpur have been named among 13 urban centers that the government wants to develop into smart cities in India as part of its ambitious urban overhaul plan. Other cities in this list include Chandigarh, Raipur, Faridabad, Ranchi, Agartala, Warangal, Imphal, Panaji and Port Blair.
The first list of 20 smart cities in India was announced in January; however, due to exclusion of non-NDA govt. states, the government had to face protest from the opposition as well as state bodies. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar even said that the government had promoted regional inequality by not including states like West Bengal, Bihar and UP in the smart city list.
In order to get rid of this criticism, the ministry decided to announce the second list of smart cities in India without wasting any time. All the 13 newly announced smart cities have proposed different projects worth Rs 30,229 crore.
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The selection of smart cities in India happens via a two-stage competition. In the first round, states shortlist the names of potential smart cities and send them to the Centre, which compare these names with the ones sent by other states and announce a final list.
In addition to the 20 smart cities that were announced in January, Centre will announce 40 more names by the end of the year, which will receive Rs. 500 crore from the government over a period of 5 years. More details about this list can be found here.