Smart Cities Mission has made significant progress over the last three years in laying the foundation for future of urban India
Ramesh Pokhriyal `Nishank’, Minister, Human Resource Development, Shri Hardeep S. Puri, MoS (I/C), Housing & Urban Affairs, and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have jointly launched an online portal for `The Urban Learning Internship Program (TULIP)’ - A program for providing internship opportunities to fresh graduates in all Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and Smart Cities across the country, here today. The portal for TULIP has been launched in the presence of Shri Amit Khare, Secretary, HRD, Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MoHUA, Chairman, AICTE and officers of both Ministries and AICTE.
TULIP is a program for providing fresh graduates experiential learning opportunities in the urban sector. It is the result of the visionary leadership of our Prime Minister who firmly believes in the power of the youth and their ability to not only bring positive change in our country but in the world. The Prime Minister has emphasized the important role the youth of India has to play in the future of our country.
Smart Cities Mission - Snapshot of progress
The Smart Cities Mission has made significant progress over the last three years in laying the foundation for future of urban India. Till date, projects worth over Rs. 1,65,000 crores have been tendered of which projects amounting to around Rs. 1,24,000 crores are in the implementation stage. Projects worth Rs. 26,700 crores are already completed and delivering benefits to the citizens. Our Smart Cities have been at the forefront in leveraging technology to manage COVID crisis, with 47 of them using their smart command and control centres as crisis management war rooms and 34 cities working to complete them at the earliest. In order to boost walkability, non-motorized transport and public transport, our cities have completed 151 smart road projects worth Rs. 2,300 crores and 373 projects worth Rs.18,300 crores are near completion. 91 PPP projects worth Rs.3,700 crores have been completed and 203 projects worth Rs. 21,400 crores will be completed soon. 51 projects worth Rs. 800 crores in the domain of vibrant urban spaces have been completed. 67 projects worth Rs.2,300 crores related to smart water and 41 projects worth Rs. 200 crores under smart solar have been completed.
TULIP has been conceived pursuant to the Budget 2020-21 announcement by the Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman under the theme ‘Aspirational India’. The announcement read as follows: “The Government proposes to start a program whereby the urban local bodies across the country would provide internship opportunities to fresh engineers for a period up to one year.” Such a program will help reap the benefits of India’s demographic dividend as it is poised to have the largest working-age population in the world in the coming years. India has a substantial pool of technical graduates for whom exposure to real world project implementation and planning is essential for professional development. General education may not reflect the depth of productive knowledge present in society. Instead of approaching education as ‘doing by learning,’ our societies need to reimagine education as ‘learning by doing.’
TULIP would help enhance the value-to-market of India’s graduates and help create a potential talent pool in diverse fields like urban planning, transport engineering, environment, municipal finance etc. thus not only catalyzing creation of prospective city managers but also talented private/ non-government sector professionals. TULIP would benefit ULBs and smart cities immensely. It will lead to infusion of fresh ideas and energy with engagement of youth in co-creation of solutions for solving India’s urban challenges. More importantly, it will further Government’s endeavors to boost community partnership and government- academia-industry-civil society linkages. Thus TULIP- “The Urban Learning Internship Program” would help fulfill twin goals of providing interns with hands-on learning experience as well as infusing fresh energy and ideas in the functioning of India’s ULBs and Smart Cities.
This launch is also an important stepping stone for fulfillment of MHRD and AICTE’s goal of 1 crore successful internships by the year 2025. The digital platform powering TULIP enables discovery, engagement, aggregation, amplification and transparency. The platform is customizable and provides immense flexibility to both ULBs/ Smart Cities and interns to enable convenient access. Security features have been thoroughly tested and the platform has been made scalable, federated and transparent by design.
An MoU has also been signed between MoHUA and AICTE. The MoU, inter alia, lays down roles and responsibilities of AICTE and MoHUA over a period of 5 years. Technical support for the platform shall be anchored by AICTE and the programmatic non-technical support shall be anchored by MoHUA. A Steering Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary, HUA including Chairman AICTE and other officials from MoHUA and AICTE has also been constituted to review the progress of the program on a periodical basis.
For ease of implementation, Guidelines have also been formulated which spell out the objective, eligibility conditions, duration of internship, terms of engagement, logistics and other operational features of the programs etc. These Guidelines also provide illustrative roles for interns which can be further refined at the level of ULBs and smart cities at their discretion. A Handbook for ULBs/ Smart Cities and interns has also been prepared for ease of implementation. MoHUA has also agreed to allow use of administrative expenses under its Missions/ programs for the payment of stipends/ perks under the program.
MoHUA would reach out to State Governments to help boost internships in their cities. It will undertake capacity building initiatives in partnerships with State Governments to enable participation of ULBs and smart cities under TULIP. As States & UTs have a deeper understanding of the regional challenges and opportunities at the urban level, they can effectively implement TULIP by matching their needs with skills developed through such internships.
State Governments/Union Territories are also urged to explore scaling up TULIP to parastatal agencies/ State Financial intermediaries and other organizations/ agencies related to urban development in their respective jurisdictions. Since the technology platform for TULIP is open, scalable and federated, such additions would be very easily possible.