• People’s participation in Central government’s Smart City Mission (SCM) worth ₹2,05,018 crore is limited to digital literates, potentially skewing opinions, observed a World Economic Forum (WEC) paper.
  • WEC recently published acommunity paper titled ‘Transforming Infrastructure: frameworks for bringing the fourth industrial revolution to infrastructure’ which has cited the analysis of SCM policy framework. “SCM promoted city-specific local solutions prepared in consultation with the city residents to meet the nation’s diversity challenge. While SCM promoted citizen participation, it was limited to digital literates, potentially skewing opinions” it observed.
  • Interestingly, the Smart City data analysed had showed that based on citizens’ opinions Mission cities are putting their highest share of investment (16.60 per cent) into urban transport development. After urban transport, area-based development is the second most important investment priority for cities.
  • The paper further added, “Cyber security remains a challenge due to limited consideration given to it during various phases of smart city development.
  • Finance Commission Chairman N K Singh expressed hope that sluggishness in economy will not continue for long. He, however, stressed that India should continue with both structural and cyclical reforms.
  • India’s economic growth hit a six-year low of 5% in the first quarter of the current fiscal. It is estimated that the growth may further slip to below 5% in the second quarter and overall the economy is likely to register a less than 5% expansion for the full fiscal.
  • The government is planning to set up a project management unit for expediting the operationalisation of allotted coal blocks.
  • The coal ministry will hire a consultant to set up the project management unit, the ministry said in a notice while inviting bids from eligible entities. The last date for submission of bid is December 19, it said.
  • NITI Aayog and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) have released the report of the ‘Task Force on Clean Industry’ to tackle Delhi’s air pollution crisis. Some of the recommendations given in the report are:
    • Introduction of mandatory contractual obligations on clean construction for all individuals and organisations;
    • Strengthening of Building Code and building by-laws for ensuring ambient air quality;
    • Two-tier mechanism for penalties;
    • Utilisation of bottom (coarse) ash, which gets generated during combustion at a thermal power plant for value added products; and
    • Priority status should be given to cleaner gas-based thermal power units and coal-based thermal power units with advanced emission controls for sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.
  • On Friday (November 15, 2019), the Indian rupee appreciated by 23 paise to 71.73 against the US dollar as gains in domestic equity market and weakening of the American currency vis-a-vis other currencies overseas strengthened investor sentiments.
  • Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation for October 2019 came in at 0.16%, much lower than 5.54% recorded in the same month last year. It was also lower than 0.33% recorded in September 2019, official data showed.