The local stakeholder workshop in Jaipur took place on 14 September. The aim was to get a feel for the nature of transport governance in Jaipur, one of the four cities chosen as Under Reform project case studies. We hoped through the workshop to better understand the role of Smart Cities Mission (SCM) stakeholders and how transport-related policies and decisions are being made within the framework of SCM. Thirty-two individuals took part from various organisations. These included the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA), the Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC), Jaipur Smart City Ltd (JSCL), the Town Planning Department, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), the Government of India (GoI), Rajasthan Road Safety, NGOs, academic institutions and project partners IISc Bangalore.
The workshop began with an introduction to the project from India Principal Investigator, Professor Sanjay Gupta. Professor Gupta explained the project research focus and objectives to participants in order to set the appropriate context for ensuing discussion on governance reforms and the situation regarding SCM in Jaipur. The workshop’s Guest of honour was Mr Virendra Singh Rathore, Technical Consultant in Road Safety from MoRTH GoI. Mr Rathore addressed the gathering, touching on the current situation regarding smart cities and the traffic and transportation sector in India. He deliberated on road safety policies nationwide, project funding, revenue generation sources and schemes, fatality rates and causes, the Motor Vehicle Act and the need for single-authority organisation of public transport services, NMT and parking policies to fulfill SCM purposes.
Open-floor stakeholder contribution was followed by a panel discussion, chaired by Mr Manoj Bhatt of the India Police Service (Director of Road Safety Centre, Police University, Jodhpur). The major focus of this discussion was transport governance and Jaipur’s SCM, the fund’s convergence and utilisation, SCM strategies and the organisations involved along with their roles and responsibilities.
During this session, participants highlighted issues relevant at different stages of planning, implementation and enforcement. It emerged that a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) had been created for Jaipur’s Smart City proposal, which participants suggested took place in isolation from a comprehensive planning process. It was suggested that this would risk a lack of cohesion in decision-making processes and the perception that policy choices were being politically, rather than needs-driven. Public consultation had not been conducted at any stage of project planning, which might further compound those risks. The scope of the Smart City proposal had not been fully understood, with participants questioning the role of Jaipur Metro and the lack of safety considerations.
Under Reform is concerned with how the SCM functions on the ground. For this reason, tensions between organisations, the professionals and politicians involved in setting up the SPV and selecting the SCM focus, and outsiders connected to the SPV will be a key future focus.