The government of India plans to build new smart cities on land currently being used for farming. But why does the country need them and who will benefit?
India is currently home to 1.3 billion people. Urban planners estimate some 300 million will move from the countryside to the city over the next two decades. In order to keep pace with this development, the government is planning to build 100 ultramodern “smart cities”. It is a huge undertaking that is not being welcomed by all. An industrial corridor, stretching 1500 kilometers, is to link the capital New Delhi with the financial hub Mumbai. The first new cities are already being built along this corridor. However, in order to make way for these new communities, thousands of farmers first have to turn their land over to investors and move away – and the financial compensation they receive is often inadequate and ineffective.
The new cities will be equipped with intelligent traffic management systems as well as elaborate surveillance technology designed to ensure the security of residents. That means, however, that residents can be monitored at virtually every step. The cities are not intended for poorer people. They will be home only to the wealthy and the up and coming middle class.11