Imagine clean air all-year round in currently pollution-racked New Delhi, with sensors monitoring its air quality 24x7. Think of parched Chennai receiving 24x7 water supply through a smart metering system that conserves water. Or Bengaluru's traffic chaos disciplined via digital devices.
These scenarios sound almost impossible in India's metros that have been struggling for years with urban issues such as pollution, water shortage, traffic congestion and waste management crisis. However, had the government plan for smart cities mooted in 2016 been anywhere close to meeting its first deadline, these could have been a reality today. A smart city, as per the government, is one that is "liveable", "sustainable" and "thriving" with opportunities for people to pursue diverse interests.