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India releases list of 98 ‘Smart City’ candidates

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses a ceremony at the launch of "Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.Photograph by AFP/Getty Images

India’s government has just announced the names of nearly 100 cities that are expected to become “smart,” according to the Economic Times.

There are 24 state capitals included with the 98 cities selected for the program. The Times reported that 13 of those cities fall in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. There are also 12 cities in Tamil Nadu, 10 in Maharashtra, six in Gujarat and Karnataka and four in West Bengal and Rajasthan, according to the publication.

There are two more cities that still need to be decided.

“We are not aiming at making our urban landscape look fanciful and flashy. The prime objective is to enhance the quality of urban life by addressing deficiencies in core infrastructure,” said urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu.

Per the publication:

The cities and towns were nominated by respective states and union territories at the end of first stage of ‘City Challenge’ competition in which all the urban local bodies were evaluated based on their financial and institutional capacities and past track record.

All these cities will have to prepare city level smart city plans which will be evaluated in the second stage of competition based on a broad set of criteria to pick up the top scoring 20 cities for financing during this financial year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the criteria for the ambitious plan in June. The Indian government is backing the scheme with 48,000 crore rupees or approximately $7 billion.