Citizen Engagement Strategy for Smart Cities

According to the Smart City Plan (SCP) of Smart Cities Mission, the process for planning the Smart City commences with the self assessment of the city, preparation of the city profile and thereafter progresses to intense citizen engagement at multiple levels in the city using different means. The SCP says, ‘a sound engagement strategy should involve better communication by government, soliciting feedback for problem identification, co-creating solutions and involving local citizen champions, while ensuring the active participation of various groups of people, such as youth and students associations, welfare associations, tax-payers associations, senior citizens, special interest groups, slum dwellers and others.’

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Neethu Mathew

Neethu Mathew studied Urban Design from Mumbai University and proceeded to work as a freelancer before joining a consultancy firm for Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation. She worked with a team of Architects and Planners while also handling the role of co-editor, photographer and graphic designer for MMRC’s monthly Newsletter. She has also worked with The Town Planning Department of Kochi. Driven by people and books, her fields of interest include urbanism, sociology, civilization studies, history, art and much more. She is also a proponent of heritage conservation.

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Prajakta Lavangare

Mrs. Prajakta Lavangare Verma is the Joint Managing Director at City and Industrial Development Corporation, Navi Mumbai. She is an IAS Officer with diverse experience in both rural and urban sectors. She has a strong track record of working in Water Conservation, Education, Sanitation, Women And Child Development, Information and Public Relations and Urban Development. She is seen as a sensitive administrator with a strong understanding of government programmes with active local participation. Prior to joining CIDCO in August 2016, she worked in different positions with the state and central governments, including Joint Commissioner Investigation at the Sales Tax Division for the Government of Maharashtra and Deputy Director General – Legal and Finance, Director General of Shipping, Government of India. She has received multiple awards for her work including the prestigious LC Singhvi Award at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in 2002.

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Vidya Tambve

Mrs. Vidya Tambve has been working with CIDCO for the last 35 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Shivaji University in Kolhapur. During her tenure with CIDCO, she has worked across various departments, including Marketing, Town Services and Personnel. Since July 2016, she has held the position of Manager Personnel and implemented several HR initiatives in terms of Employee Engagement and Induction. She is the first female CIDCO officer appointed to this role. Mrs. Tambve was instrumental in the digitization of records in Town Services and Personnel. She also played a key role in set-up of CIDCO’s Citizen Facilitation Centre. In her current role, she is driving implementation of SAP-HCM and CIDCO’s capacity building initiatives under its new training policy.

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CIDCO Training Portal: Ujjwal

NIUA-CIDCO Smart City Lab was established in July 2014 at the National Institute of Urban Affairs as the research and capacity building unit, providing support to CIDCO’s technical personnel through action research, documentation and capacity building. Since its formation, the lab has supported CIDCO in a variety of activities, including the launch of CIDCO Smart City (South) in 2015. Entering its 4th year, NIUA-CIDCO Smart City Lab is now aiding the implementation of CIDCO’s new Training Policy through Ujjwal, CIDCO’s first online Training Portal. The Training Policy was approved by the CIDCO Board as a step towards achieving the objectives set under the ‘Smart Organisation’ vertical of CIDCO’s Smart City Vision. Its key objective is to overcome barriers to training and knowledge enhancement for all Class I & Class II CIDCO officers.

Ujjwal is an integrated platform that provides access to a wide choice of managerial, technical and behavioural courses from world-class institutes, through a user-friendly interface. It was custom made for CIDCO by NIUA’s web development unit and launched on 5th July 2017. It can be accessed at The portal is built upon three primary datasets:

  • Existing Employee as per SAP: This data includes phone number, email address, age, experience, designation, cadre and reporting officer.
  • Institutes: A list of partner institutes who offer relevant trainings. This includes location of the institute and details for the contact person.
  • Courses: A list of courses offered by partner institutes and organisations that CIDCO officers can apply to participate in. This includes details about the course such as course description, intended audience, start and end date, registration deadline and fees.

NIUA-CIDCO Smart City Lab is currently working to integrate Ujjwal with CIDCO’s SAP system in order to allow real-time updates to the employee database, accounting for all new hires, promotions, retirements, etc. Since its launch, the portal has already registered 137 visitors within the first three weeks of its launch. At the time of publication of this Newsletter, participation of 77 officers have registered their interest in training through the portal, out of which, 37 trainings have been already approved for 56 CIDCO officers. As of 31 July, 2017, 13 CIDCO officers would have completed participation in 9 trainings.

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Smart City Plan: Columbus, Ohio

US DOT’s Smart City Challenge aims to help cities begin to address the challenges the trends identified in the Beyond Traffic report published by the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. Department of Transportation, n.d.). As part of the challenge, 78 medium-sized cities shared their best and most creative ideas for innovatively addressing the challenges they face. USDOT committed $40 million for one city to demonstrate how advanced data and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technologies and applications can be used to reduce congestion, keep travellers safe, protect the environment, respond to climate change, connect underserved communities, and support economic vitality (U.S. Department of Transportation, n.d.). In June 2016, Columbus was selected as the winner of the Smart City Challenge. Columbus proposed to reshape its transportation system to become part of a fully integrated city that leverages data and technology with an aim of efficiently moving people and good (U.S. Department of Transportation, n.d.). The 77 cities that did not win the Smart City Challenge benefited from the challenge as well, as the competition gave them an opportunity for creation of detailed applications that spurred additional interest in smart city technology with respect to the challenges the cities are facing (Maddox, 2016)

The Winner – Columbus, Ohio
Ohio’s capital Columbus is the largest city in the state and the 15th largest city in the country with a population of 8,60,090 (US Census, 2016). It is relatively dense for a mid-sized American city. It has a density of about 3800 inhabitants per square mile (around 1500 persons per square km). It serves as a strong regional anchor with 39% of the Metropolitan Area population living in the city. Columbus has grown consistently over time and it continues to become more diverse with growing African-American, Latino and Asian populations. The city has a young working population with a median age of 32 years which is lower than the state (39) and the nation (37) (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017) and has a lower unemployment rate of 3.4% (U.S. Census, 2015). Columbus has a strong and diverse economy, driven by education, healthcare and social assistance services. It is also the fastest growing metro area in the Midwest, the top metro for job growth in the Midwest, and the top metro for wage growth in the U.S. The city recognises these credentials and aims to leverage them to make the City of Columbus- A city of opportunities (Ginther, 2016).

“Columbus won the Smart City Challenge because of Mayor Ginther’s leadership and because the central Ohio community united to develop innovative solutions to address community challenges.” – Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Skyline of Columbus (Source:

Columbus Smart City Vision
With its immense potential and resources, Columbus is striving to become a successful smart city by responding to four primary issues:

  • An aging population;
  • A growing younger population that is moving to the dense urban areas;
  • Mobility challenges in select neighbourhoods; and
  • A growing economy and population with related housing and commercial, passenger and freight, and environmental issues.

Its vision is to become a community that provides beauty, prosperity and health for all of its citizens (Ginther, 2016). It plans to achieve its vision by:

  1. Leveraging a new central connected traffic signal and integrated transportation data system to develop a suite of applications to deliver enhanced human services to residents and visitors.
  2. Integrating electronic appointments and scheduling platform for doctor visits with transit tracking so that rescheduling becomes automated and expecting mothers do not gave to wait weeks to reschedule appointments. These applications include a multi-modal trip planning application, a common payment system for all transportation modes, a smartphone application for assistance to persons with disabilities, and integration of travel options at key locations for visitors.
  3. Establishing a smart corridor connecting underserved neighbourhoods to jobs and services. The smart corridor will enhance Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service by installing smart traffic signals, smart street lighting, traveller information and payment kiosks, and free public Wi-Fi along the route. Further, six electric, accessible, autonomous vehicles will be deployed to expand the reach of the BRT system to additional retail and employment centres (U.S. Department of Transportation, n.d.).

Smart City plan for Columbus adopts Transit Oriented Development (TOD) as an approach for managing city’s transportation. Mayor Andrew J. Ginther understands the connection between city’s transportation and the livelihood of the people. He believes that “Transportation is not just about roads, transit and ride sharing. It is about how people access opportunity. And how they live”. (Smart Columbus, n.d.) Globally, many cities are appreciating and adopting TOD approach to build more liveable cities. In fact, after focused efforts to dovetail infrastructure and technology through its AMRUT and Smart Cities programs, the Government of India is now turning its attention Transit-Oriented Development  (TOD). It has also recently adopted a national TOD policy that will support the transformation process already underway in most of the Indian cities. This transformation will attract lot of  investments to the respective cities, and vastly increase their ‘liveability’ in a sustainable manner.

Highlights of the proposal
There are four foundational plans, which will allow the city to identify and overcome the challenges for achieving its desired goals (Ginther, 2016).

  1. Connect Columbus: Connect Columbus is the City’s Multimodal Thoroughfare Plan which provides a long-range vision and priority investments for transportation plan in the City. The plan aims designed to improve safety, reduce congestion, assist children, the elderly, and people with ADA needs and promote economic development, fitness and environmental responsibility.
  2. Insight 2050: Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), the metropolitan planning organisation for Columbus, leads Insight 2050. It is a collaborative initiative among public and private partners designed to help Central Ohio proactively plan for growth and development. Insight 2050 provides scenario testing tools and data to help decision makers understand the impact of future land use policies and the transportation investments.
  3. 2016-2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan: As the region continues to grow and funding availability becomes scarce, the region is prepared with innovative transportation solutions to address grown infrastructure demand. The Metropolitan Transportation Plan is the federally mandated long-range planning document led   by MORPC that brings together local governments from around Central Ohio and other local, state, and federal agencies to identify and coordinate transportation goals, policies, strategies and projects over the next two decades.
  4. NextGen Plan: The NextGen Plan is the Central Ohio Transit Authority’s (COTA) long-range planning effort to identify transit needs and opportunities for 2025, 2040 and 2050. The initiative will recommend system enhancements, including a prioritised list of bus and rail projects along with what technology to employ. COTA will comprehensively realign its network to better fulfil the needs of the growing community.

Columbus has outperformed a number of other deserving cities, which were far more technologically advanced and financially stronger, because:

  1. The proposal provided a path for growth beyond the initial applications through its clearly defined vision and goals (McGregor, 2016).
  2. Its focus on improving the health and lives of the community by reducing poverty and infant mortality with the application of technology (Hawkins, 2016).
  3. The ability of the city to rope in local partners as well as prominent tech-based companies to help in achieving the goals set for smarter Columbus (Chieppo, 2016).

Key points of comparison with Indian Smart Cities
The greatest difference between cities participating in the Smart City Challenge in the United States and those participating in the Indian Smart Cities Mission is the level of existing infrastructure. Columbus additionally illustrates a strong commitment to the sharing economy and has a foundation for providing open, accessible data that enables other stakeholders to develop solutions for the greater good. This is also evident from the city’s investment in policy and regulatory changes that encourage bike sharing (CoGo) and car sharing (Car2Go, Uber) services. The city also has a working MyColumbus app that enables citizens to access (Ginther, 2016):

  • City services
  • Publicly accessible transit routes, schedules, and stop data
  • MORPC Regional Data Lab portal that provides access to transportation, housing, and other public information available around the region
  • State-wide accessible travel-time data Indian cities, on the other hand, have taken up a bigger challenge of leap-frogging development. As seen through the new urban agenda and its initiatives, Indian Smart Cities are bridging the existing service delivery gaps while embedding “smartness” into the system in the process.

Columbus’ Smart City Plan also successfully leverages about 10 times the initial government grant by building partnership with the private sector. A review of the finances from the first 33 cities shows an average funding leverage of 1.18, with a maximum of 5.29 in case of Indore and a value less than 1 for more than half the cities. However, with the growing focus on engaging with private partners (as seen under the smart cities mission) and the adoption of the country’s first value capture finance policy framework in February 2017, Indian cities are now set to find more opportunities for leveraging finances from alternative sources.

Some of the Indian cities are already demonstrating steps in this direction through the implementation of global best practices. An example of this is the city of Pune. Under the Smart Cities Mission, it is collaborating with Google, L&T and other technology firms to provide Wi-Fi connectivity at around 200 strategic locations in the city (Press Trust of India, 2017). Under the contract, Google will help monetise the city Wi-Fi network, and will deploy Google Station platform, which has Wi-Fi network management capability, and focuses on monetisation to make Wi-Fi self-sustainable. RailTel, on the other hand, will provide lat-mile fibre connectivity on need basis to enable Wi-Fi hotspots at around 200 strategic locations across the city (Khan, 2017).

With the support of national level initiatives such as the Smart City Mission, AMRUT among others, cities are working towards efficient and fast project through a collaboration of urban local bodies, state agencies, and local partners including NGOs, educational institutions and community. As Ohio implements its Smart City Plan, there is an opportunity to observe and benefit from the challenges they face and to aid leap-frogging the development in Indian cities.

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Training Through Ujjwal

A one-stop shop for CIDCO’s training activities, Ujjwal allows the CIDCO officers to view, select, apply, and track their participation and progress in various trainings. This process is facilitated by the Ujjwal Training Cell that is located within the planning department at CIDCO Bhavan in Navi Mumbai.

Course: A program offered by an institute that an Officer can apply for through Ujjwal.

Training: Training is the process of selection and participation in a course by an Officer, facilitated by the Training cell through Ujjwal.

Typology: There are three kinds of courses available through Ujjwal:

  • Managerial trainings are related to effective management of projects and people including need for improved knowledge and skills on project management, strategic decision making financial management, crisis management, conflict management, risk assessment, etc.
  • Technical trainings are specific to the functions and needs of the departments of the organization
  • Behavioural trainings are related to improving one’s own productivity and sense of achievement and personal growth through self-improvement courses.

STEP 1: Log-in

Every Class I & Class II Officer is given access to the portal through a link that is shared over an email and a password that is sent in an SMS text.

STEP 2: Visit the Dashboard

Upon logging in, officers can see their personalised Dashboard. It allows them to see their participation eligibility and the completed, ongoing and upcoming trainings.


STEP 3: Update and Confirm Details

Officers can review their personal and employee information from the Edit Profile page. They can change their password, verify/select their Reporting Officer, and report an issue if their Reporting Officer is not visible in the provided list.





STEP 4: Add Trainings

Officers can select three courses that they are interested to participate in using the selection tool in order of their preference – Priority I, II & III. Out of these three, their participation will be confirmed for one, based on their preference and the availability of seats.


To select a course, officers will need to first select a Typology


Next, they can choose a course


These courses can also be sorted by month using the Calendar filter


Before moving further, officers should confirm their availability on the dates on which the course is being offered.


Officers can also click on the View Course Details button to read more about the course.



Once satisfied with the course, officers can click the Select Course button to add the course to their selection.


Officers can review their selection once again by clicking on the selection


If officers wish to change the training, they can click on the Remove button to clear the selection.


Once three courses of choice have been selected, officers have to click the Freeze button to add their selection as Trainings.


Once the Freeze button is clicked, the courses will be added as Trainings into the system and the Training Coordinator will receive an email update informing them of the selection. After pressing the Freeze button the officers cannot make any changes to their selection.


STEP 5: Check Stages

Once the courses are added as trainings, the Training Coordinator in the Ujjwal Training Cell will review their selection and approve or reject their enrollment based on availability of seats. Officers can track this process through the Check Stages page. If a course is not approved for participation, a rejection notification will be visible. As per CIDCO policy, officers cannot withdraw from participation in a Training once it has been approved.

Following are the stages that will be visible through the Check Stage for each training once it is approved:

  • Approval of participation that confirms enrollment. Officers should immediately reach out to the training coordinator to discuss the next steps.
  • Confirmation of payment once the payment for the course is made to the institute.
  • Completion of participation on the day the training ends.
  • Completion of training upon submission of Feedback Form, Proof of Participation


STEP 6: Feedback Form and Proof of Participation

A training is considered complete only when the Feedback Form and Proof of Participation are submitted through the portal.




Upon completion, officers may apply for another training after a cooling off period of six months. The cost of participation in the trainings along with associated travel and accomodation expenses will be borne by CIDCO (as per CIDCO’s existing policy). Management of any logistics for travel required for participation in these trainings is to be arranged by the participating officers themselves.

Ujjwal is a unqiue system implemented by CIDCO for knowledge enhancement of its officers. As a new system, it continues to evolve by learning from the experiences of all its users. Thus, it is essential that suggestions and questions are brought to the notice of the Ujjwal Training Cell.

Officers can use the Contact Training Cell page for this, or write to the Training Cell at The Training Cell is located within CIDCO Bhavan on the Second floor in the Planning Department.

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Kochi Metro – Kudumbasree, Partners for Inclusive Planning

Kochi Metro is the newest implemented mass rapid transit system in the country. Its construction began in June 2013 and a 13.4 km long section on the line between Aluva and Palarivattom was inaugurated on 17th June 2017. A second 5 km stretch between Palarivattom and Maharaja’s College is slated to open in August 2017. Kochi Metro is also working to make the system socially inclusive by working with Kudumbasree. Together, they are working to hire women and transgender individuals in the operational management of the metro system.

Kudumbasree Logo (Source:

Kudumbasree is a community organisation of Neighbourhood Groups (NHGs) of women in Kerala. It has been recognised as an effective strategy for the empowerment of women in rural as well as urban areas (Krishnakumar, 2015). The mission of Kudumbasree is “to eradicate absolute poverty in ten years through concerted community action under the leadership of local governments, by facilitating organisation of the poor for combining self-help with demand-led convergence of available services and resources to tackle the multiple dimensions and manifestations of poverty, holistically”. There are several strategies undertaken by the organisation to achieve its mission, which include formation of women collectives, skill upgrade training, provision of better living conditions -infrastructural facilities, micro-enterprises for sustainable economic development, etc.

Last year, KMRL signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Kudumbasree for the management of its station premises including ticketing, customer relations, housekeeping, parking management and running the canteens of KMRL. The MoU was signed in the presence of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and minister for Local Self Government K T Jaleel during the Chief Minister’s visit to KMRL office for reviewing the project (PTI, 2016).

Elias George, Managing Director of Kochi Metro Rail Limited (Source:

Two major initiatives taken by the Kochi Metro, which makes it unique are:

  • This is the first time a government owned organization in the country has formally appointed twenty three transgender persons (John & Das, 2017),
  • Kochi metro will have more women employees; it will be a women run metro.

People will be hired on an experimental basis after a security screening by police and the women employees appointed will be give

n special training by the police. On the decision of including transgender, Elias George, KMRL Managing Director said, “Transgenders face lot of difficulties. They are forced into undesirable occupations. So as an experiment, we have developed an idea to rehabilitate them. Under Kudumbasree itself, we have planned to employ transgender in Kochi metro. We know that our experiment will be a success,” Mr. George reaffirmed that if this experiment turns out to be a success, they would incorporate the same for the water metro project (Ashtputre, 2016).

Kerala government has previously worked on social inclusion of transgender community. Last year, Kerala unveiled a Transgender Policy, with the view towards protecting the rights of transgender and ending the stigma towards the community. The idea behind the policy is to ensure that transgender have equal access to social and economic opportunities, resources and services, and right to live life without violence (Singh, 2016).

Kochi Metro (Source:

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Ravindrakumar Mankar

Mr. Ravindrakumar Manoharrao Mankar is currently the Additional Chief Planner for Navi Mumbai at the City and Industrial Development Corporation,  Navi Mumbai. He is in charge of coordinating NIUA-CIDCO Smart City Lab’s activities on behalf of CIDCO. He has over 25 years of experience of working with CIDCO and he currently heads a team of 15 planners, working in Northern and Southern nodes of Navi Mumbai. Mr. Mankar obtained his Bachelors in Civil Engineering from YCC Nagpur a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from VNIT, Nagpur. He has been a part of international infrastructure and smart city projects’ conference. Mr. Mankar is also a member of the Institute of Engineers, India and the Institute of Town Planners. He has previously worked as a secretary for the Indian Institute of Town Planners India, Maharashtra chapter and is presently the Chairman of the ITPI MRC.

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NIUA-CIDCO Smart City Lab publishes Volume 3 Issue 2 of its newsletter

NIUA-CIDCO Smart City Lab publishes Volume 3, Issue 2 of its newsletter detailing the team’s activities between April 2017 and June 2017. The newsletter titled ‘CIDCO@Smart’ gives an insight into the work done by the CIDCO Smart City Lab team in the areas of Research, Capacity Building, Innovation and Project support for CIDCO.

This issue showcases CIDCO’s work on the objectives set by the Swachh Bharat Mission, led by the implementation of new technologies for waste management practices and the proposed Development of Terminus Station at Panvel. The newsletter shares highlights from Davanagere’s Smart City Plan and features an update on the third round of the National Smart Cities Mission. Knowledge Lab focuses on the establishment of NIUA-CIDCO Training Cell and the launch of CIDCO’s first training portal Ujjwal. It includes a detailed walkthrough for the portal, along with a brief discussion on its role in implementation of CIDCO’s Training Policy. Smart City Corner presents the key highlights of the Smart City Plan from Colmbus, Ohio. It is a follow up on the previous article, which offered a comparative analysis of the Indian National Smart Cities Mission and the American Smart Cities Challenge. The Inclusive Planning section covers Kudumbasree’s work for inclusion of women and transgender individuals in the development and operation of Kochi Metro. This issue also features its first article on HR Management in the Newsletter, discussing an instructional design model called ADDIE.

The issue is available for download here.

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