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Govt launches Smart Cities fellowship, internship programmes

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Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has launched Smart Cities fellowship and internship programmes that, he said, would provide the youth with an opportunity to experience various aspects of urban planning and governance. The minister also launched Local Area Plan (LAP) and Town Plan Schemes (TPS) for 25 cities in the country, under which the ministry will give Rs 2 crore as central assistance to every city for planned urban expansion.

Addressing a press conference, the minister said that smart cities digital payment award, which was announced today, is intended to promote ‘Digital India’ and ease of living for India’s urban residents by promoting digital payments and encouraging smart cities to adopt innovative digital payment initiatives. According to the ministry, under the fellowship programmes, the ministry will engage 30 young graduates, postgraduates and Ph.D-holders in the fields of urban planning, urban design, engineering, information and technology, urban mobility, finance, social sector, and environmental issues.

The period of engagement is one year to three years. Selected applicants will provide necessary support to the office of Mission Director, Smart Cities in the ministry or CEOs of selected smart cities in terms of analytics, research, documentation, independent assessment among others. Interested applicants can apply online through Smart Net (https:martnet.niua.org) till August 31. Applications received will be scrutinised and shortlisted by a selection committee.

The ministry said that under India Smart Cities Internship (ISCI) Programme, the ministry will engage students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate degrees as interns to help implementation of projects in various states. The internship will be on unpaid basis for a period of 6 to 12 weeks. Puri said that applicants will be given an experience certificate at the end successful completion of the programme.

Asked if the country will get the first Smart City before the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Puri said it’s a long-term project and does not rely on election. Giving details about ‘Smart Cities Digital Payments Awards 2018’, the minister said that its objective is to guide, motivate, recognise and reward the smart cities for promoting digital payments and carrying out innovative payment initiatives in their respective cities.

The challenge period would be 100 days starting from the launch of the awards. This would galvanise the digital payments landscape in the smart cities. The awards will be conferred based on a two-stage process. In a statement, the ministry said the last date for submission of responses for first stage is September 15. Dates for final results will be announced later.

For evaluation purpose, the smart cities will be divided into four different categories based on their population — up to five lakh, 5-10 lakh, 1 million to 4 million and above four million. The Local Area Plan (LAP) and Town Planning Scheme (TPS) will be implemented in 25 selected cities on pilot basis. The scheme will enable the selected cities to formulate local area-based plans and town planning schemes (TPS) for which 100 per cent central assistance would be available, the ministry said.

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