Business Opportunities in Smart Cities of India
Written by: Kriti Anand
In November 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the “Smart Cities Mission”. Under the mission, a hundred self-sustainable, citizen-friendly cities are to be developed in India. Linked with its “Digital India” initiative, the government aims to focus on technological solutions including surveillance systems, integrated traffic management, and other e-governance projects in the development of these cities.
With over 70 people migrating to cities like New Delhi per hour, a project like this is the need of the hour. Over 600,000 new citizens per year in the cities, India would have at least 300 million people migrating to the urban areas in the next 30 years.
The Smart Cities, along with incorporating these huge numbers, would also become a fertile ground for new businesses. Every aspect of city life provides opportunities for businesses to take root and grow, be it energy, renewables, sanitation, transportation, construction, or Information Technology. The city planners would become a market for innovative individual startups.
“Cities in the past were built on riverbanks. They are now built along highways. But in the future, they will be built based on availability of optical fiber networks and next-generation infrastructure.”
In his insights about upcoming technological advancements in the near future, Mr. Modi has incorporated intelligent city management systems for governance. The concept of e-governance is nothing new, but it is new enough in a developing country like India. It would generate a variety of employment and business opportunities. It would also work to create a much-needed space for innovative ideas and emerging entrepreneurships to prosper.
It would also open up tremendous investment and growth opportunities across several sectors.
In terms of service delivery, the initiative of Smart Cities would create a niche for new commercial enterprises and novel business ideas. Another immediate concern it would cover is attracting large multi-national and international corporations to India.
In the Cities, there would be a requirement of intelligent transport systems, smart waste management and monitored traffic control. All of these would create employment opportunities not just for manual labor and existing companies, but also for new technological interventions, that can be provided by small-scale entrepreneurships to large, established corporations from various fields.
The need for robust information technology and connectivity would open up employment opportunities in the IT sector, currently the most sought-after sector in India.
Infrastructure development being one of the most basic and important aspects of city development, it would be one of the major areas to provide employment opportunities. IT industry, programming, data analysts, etc. can expect an increasingly profitable business run in these cities. Different types of businesses that could avail business directly from the smart cities mission are mentioned below:
- IT solutions firms
- Network service providers and integrators
- Data analysis firms
- Infrastructure developers
- Real estate companies
- Construction companies
- Solar energy firms
- Transport engineering companies
- Product vendors
- Project and program management firms
- Startups, innovation centers and accelerator programs
According to Business Wire India, projects worth INR 4,223 crore have been identified under the Smart city plan during 2016, with a major share of projects in the following sectors:
- Built Environment which encompasses townships, residential and commercial dwellings, institutional buildings like hospitals, universities, etc.
- Transportation comprising of road infrastructure, mass transit systems and intelligent transportation.
- Housing, especially affordable and mass housing.
- Energy which includes alternate energy, waste to energy conversion and energy efficiency projects.
- Public Services like water supply and sanitation services, health and education facilities.
- Technology Infrastructure which includes pan city technology solutions for surveillance and monitoring of vehicle movement.
Smart Cities would ensure employment and business opportunities in every field. These opportunities, divided evenly across sectors, and distributed over all the regions across the states, would be instrumental in controlling migrations to different states for jobs.
The Smart Cities Mission would thus open up a scope for phenomenal business development, employment opportunities, and profitable startups from various fields and sectors, ranging from IT to infrastructure and transport systems to waste management.