It is interesting to track the growth path of Skill India Mission, the nation wide campaign spearheaded by the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, with the objective of building up a legion of trained and competent workers—a ‘commodity’ that is always in great demand, both locally and globally. And access to one is considered a much- coveted privilege. No wonder, therefore, the Mission has now evolved as an initiative that can effectively influence and mould all the other high profile “Missions” that feature in the priority list of the Central government. That includes Make in India Mission, Digitalise India, and particularly Smart Cities Mission. The concept of Smart Cities wouipld be a non-starter without teams of smart citizens at the helm of affairs who are experts at handling state of the art technology, and masters of the craft of governance. Therefore, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and New Delhi Municipal Council Smart City Limited (NDMCSCL)- a public limited company owned by NDMC, to set up Skill Development Centres in the areas under the jurisdiction of NDMC, is undoubtedly a very astute move.
NDMC was selected by the Union Ministry of Urban Development as one of the first 20 Smart Cities under the Smart City Mission. As per the terms of the MoU, NSDC and NDMCSCL would develop a joint action plan to achieve the specified objective of ‘skilling’ in smart cities. NSDC would support the skill development initiatives of NDMCSCL, and would help set up Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) at identified locations.
The Smart Cities Mission declares driving economic growth to be its long term objective, followed closely by its pledge to improve the quality of life of the local people. Its modus operendi is comprehensive development of physical, institutional, social and economic infrastructure. This is the first and the most significant step towards improve the quality of life and attracting people and investment, professes NSDC.
So what does ‘comprehensive development’ entail? In other words, what would the smart leaders of the city be expected to provide, once the poll fever is on remission? The conditions are all- encompassing,such as the following:ensuring adequate water and electricity supply;assuring sanitation facilities for all, including solid waste management facilities; providing efficient urban mobility and public transport. Also, making arrangements for affordable housing, especially for the underprivileged.
Robust IT connectivity has become an integral part of good governance, especially in a Smart city regime where citizens’ participation is considered an important component of the decision making process. Giving top priority to sustainable environment, that is, clean air, clean water, and a healthy stock of natural resources is also a part of this ‘must have’ list. Finally, an administrative system that keeps a constant vigil on the safety and security of its citizens. These are the key ingredients of the Smart City concept.
Its a comprehensive list, say experts. Also a tough one to achieve. Major investments , critical policy changes and extensive financial readjustments are indicated. But most importantly, initiating a sweeping change in the mindset of the citizens, making them willing partners in the task of adapting the smart city lifestyle, is the key component of the Smart City concept.
NDMC and its partner NSDC are gearing up to tackle the challenge of ‘skilling’ in smart cities. Meanwhile, the nation is waiting and watching.