Despite improvement in India’s business environment, there is still a need for reforms at various levels to successfully implement the Smart Cities programme, the World Economic Forum said in a report. The government has announced plans for 100 smart cities and 500 Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) cities. It also approved Rs. 1 lakh crore for the purpose .
The WEF report castigated India’s “archaic” bureaucratic processes, where “little value is added with each step”, yet delays are common.
The problems in the business environmentstemmed from these bureaucratic processes, where obtaining licences and approvals takes a long time, and land acquisition is fraught with delays and uncertainties, according to the report. The dispute resolution system also adds to businesses’ costs.
“In most cases, when an urban development project becomes involved in a dispute, activities are stalled, as are vendor payments. With poor cost recovery and high legal costs, companies engaged in disputes find it difficult to sustain their activities.”
In the report, WEF offers solutions for challenges in business environment,institutional setup, and sector-specific issues, all of which the government has to take cognisance of while going forward with the Smart Cities programme.