Prime Minister Narendra Modi would launch projects under his government’s most ambitious programme – Smart Cities Mission – on Saturday here, kick-starting the execution of the schemes to be implemented in 20 cities.

Modi would launch Pune’s 14 projects, along with 69 of other cities, entailing a total investment of about Rs1,770 crore at a special function at the city’s Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex at Balewadi. The 20 selected cities would be linked through videoconferencing.

The cities participating in the Mission have proposed a total investment of Rs48,000 crore in area development and Pan-city solutions. They have proposed public-private partnership (PPP) as a major vehicle of resource mobilization. Ten of the 20 cities have proposed to mobilize Rs8,521 crore under the PPP model, while the others have also indicated this option. A total 26,735 acres has been identified by these cities to make them smart through necessary interventions.

Saturday’s launch would also mark the beginning of the implementation of the urban development plans based on the government’s five-year action plan formulated after analysis of infrastructure gaps in over 500 cities under the Smart Cities Mission and AMRUT, accounting for about 70% of the country’s urban population.

During the Lok Sabha elections campaign, the BJP had made Smart Cities Mission a main poll plank and had sought urban votes promising to convert cities into “smart cities”.

The ministry of urban development has urged the 20 smart cities selected in the first round of the competition to quickly firm up bankable projects for obtaining loan assistance from the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the Brics Development Bank.

The Prime Minister would also inaugurate ‘Make Your City SMART’ contest, aimed at involving citizens in designing roads, junctions and parks. Suggestions and designs suggested by the citizens would be duly incorporated by respective smart cities. The winners of this contest would be given rewards in the range of Rs10,000 to Rs1,00,000. This is aimed at continuing citizen participation in the planning.

Modi would also launch Smart Net Portal, enabling the cities to share ideas and source solutions for various issues during the implementation of various missions.