–CT News Bureau

Mumabi, Dec 18: The present BJP-led government has announced its plans to build 100 smart cities, but it looks like at the ground level it is going to take some hard work as the most of the civic bodies in India are expected to increase their IT budgets by less than 10%.

This was revealed by a survey titled ICT in Urban Governance, which was conducted by the Schneider Electric. According to the survey only two civic bodies are planning to hike the budget by more than 50%, which is a very small proportion considering the size of the country.

Even some of the largest civil bodies are also not willing to spend too much on ICT as only 10 civic agencies with Municipal Budgets exceeding Rs. 100 Crore to allocate between 0.5%-1% for ICT deployment.

About 60% of the bodies plan to increase IT budgets by only 1-10% during the next two and a half years. Less than 10% plan to hike the IT budget by more than 50% during the period in consideration; and about 11% plan to increase it by 11-20%. Over the next two years, IT budget increase in most agencies will be either in the 1-10% or 11-20% range.

Smart Cities

In Maharashtra, five civic agencies (Pune, Thane, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nagpur and Navi Mumbai) will spend between Rs 6 Crore and Rs 22 Crore for ICT deployment in 2014-15. From these, Nagpur was one of 10 civic agencies in India with the highest municipal budgets for 2014-15, accounting for 38% of agencies with budgets exceeding Rs 100 Crore.

Anil Chaudhry, Country President and Managing Director, Schneider Electric India, said: “The present Government’s vision of building 100 Smart Cities will be contingent upon the efficient adoption of ICT solutions. In turn, this needs support at the ground level, along with robust budget allocations for ICT. Accordingly, spends should be increased and allocated budgets spent judiciously for the Government’s vision of Smart Cities to become a reality.”

In the case of IT budget spends, huge variations exist in the proportion spent by different civic agencies across India. More than 40% reportedly spend in excess of 40% of their IT budget, while another 13% spend 31-50%. Conversely, about 33% reportedly spend less than 5% of their IT budgets. IT spends are evenly spread across different categories. Most civic agencies spend less than 30% of their IT expenditure on software, maintenance, upgradation and hardware. Around 45% spend more than 30% on hardware and software.