Owing to political compulsion Urban Development Minister,Venkaiah Naidu, finally allowed addition of 9 new capital cities to the smart cities list. The Minister had been standing in opposition to further additions to the list earlier. According to the newly planned list , 109 cities will be participating in the upcoming Smart Cities Mission competition.
The new capitals participating in the next round of competition include Patna, Thiruvanthapuram, Bengaluru, Amravati, Itanagar, and Gangatok. Meerut and Rae Bareli from Uttar Pradesh along with Jammu and Srinagar from Jammu & Kashmir had been permitted to be nominated by the Urban Development Ministry, in contravention of the rules .
Venkaiah Naidu’s Ministry had set clear guidelines last year for the selection of these smart cities. The two-stage process will be fully incentive-based and will check score received by the cities for carrying out urban reforms. Each state could shortlist potential cities and send them to the Centre after which selected cities could compete with each other. Rs 500 crore will be provided by the Centre for the smart city project over 5 years and an equal amount is required to be matched by the state government as well.