Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Railways, was speaking at an event to mark the release of a report “SMART Cities: The way India thinks”, a compilation of the inferences of the two-day conference, Smart City: Delivery of Civic Services. It was organised by Vijnan Bharati, Mumbai, and held in association with WeSchool, in June 2015.
The two-day conference brought together 40 eminent experts from the fields related to smart city development, with a special focus on “Delivery of Civic Services” to citizens.
The conference, which was led by habitat expert Dr Madhav Chitale and Jayant Sahasrabuddhe (organising secretary), Vijnan Bharati was initiated keeping in mind the reality that existing India’s infrastructure can be best augmented by proposing Bharat Centric Solutions. This was reflected in the report released by the Railway Minister.
What it was
The brainstorming session saw presentations from the Mumbai Metro and consulting firm KPMG outlining its vision for turning the metropolis into a Smart city. How? By offering smart, seamless transport.
The summary of the report presented during the next session, outlined a much bigger vision to enable cities to promote economic growth that is inclusive. It report covered detailed aspects of process of urbanisation, urban living conditions and other components that define a smart city.
While releasing the report, Suresh Prabhu applauded the collaborative efforts put in by all stakeholders and emphasised that it is the power of “we” that is required to make social transformations more impactful.
“As education opens up horizons, science and technology provide the tools. All these must come together and form the building blocks for new civilization that will grow in smart cities. India will soon be the most populous country in the world — migration will be inevitable and the cities will grow. We need to understand why a particular city is growing; its unique character, and ethos is different. When we turn them into smart cities, it could be the smartest city, but if the quality of life is not good, the city will fail. I am glad that Vijnan Bharati created this confluence of experts to deliberate on the issues involved and that they have come up with suggestions that will help strengthen our efforts in fulfilling the national agenda.”
In the spirit of taking the agenda of Smart Cities forward, three leading educational institutes from Matunga — Ruia, Podar and Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research (Weschool) — had come together to announce the adoption of Matunga (CR) station for the benefit of thousands of commuting students, people thronging the surrounding business district and local residents of Matunga.
The goal of the project is to go beyond the basics and use design thinking and intelligence to design a better user experience and space management. Transforming self-organisation and society through collective wisdom and creating multiple customised solutions which are inclusive and humane, is WeSchool’s connect with the nations vision of Smart cities.
“Educational institutes must focus on their role of providing young students with skill-sets that will contribute to the national agenda as well as global business, which is expected to rise by several billions by 2020. Academic institutes have a larger role to play for the greater good, must take ownership of the vicinity and include the excluded,” explained Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool while outlining his vision behind turning the burgeoning metropolis into a smart district.
Prof Dr Suhas Pednekar, Principal, Ramnarain Ruia College and President, Vijnan Bharati (Mumbai) concurred by saying, “The Conference Smart City: Delivery of Civic Services was only the beginning. When we talk about fulfilling the national agenda, be it in Swachh Bharat, Digital India or Make in India, academia must be included in it, as it is an important pillar. I am glad that we are not only able to present the findings of the conference to the government for its possible implementation but are also setting an example by taking the agenda forward and turning the surrounding area into a University township.”