Some talk about the population explosion, some speak of India becoming the next superpower, and many discuss the political and economic changes and all the new infrastructure that will make way for a better lifestyle for all. While no one knows for sure what the future hold, let’s try and take a peek.
WORDS BY- AMOG S
TEN years from now seems like a long time. But India is already on its way to the future. And while some stats seem scary and impending, there’s also a lot to look forward to.
When it comes to our country’s population, we all know that it’s been on a steady incline since a long time. And by 2025, India will be the world’s most populous nation, with a population of just under 1.5 billion, a little ahead of China.
Long ago, Gandhiji had made a statement that “India lives in her villages”. Well some forecast that will remain true with under 40% of the population in urban areas.
Agriculture will remain the mainstay of employment with over 40% still dependent on it even as its share of economic activity continues to shrink.
Talking about numbers, literacy will rise significantly to over 80%, but that will still leave about one in five adults illiterate.
At least 2.6% of all children born will die within
their first year, but on the brighter side, life expectancy will cross 70 for both genders. The fertility rate — the number of children born to a woman — will fall just below two. Ironically, this will be many decades after the slogan “hum do, hamare do” was originally conceived.
So maybe these numbers and stats don’t make you smile. But on the economic front, rapid strides would have been made.
Gross domestic product (GDP) will touch nearly $8 trillion, almost four times the current level, and the addition to the GDP in the decade will be nearly thrice the amount added in the 68 years since Independence. With population growth slowing down, this will also mean per capita incomes rise about four-fold to $6,000.
India’s integration with the global economy will be even higher with trade in goods and services accounting for nearly two-thirds of GDP. The average Indian will consume over four times the power she does today.
But the good news is, India will be
more digital than ever. Internet users will account for anywhere between 50% and 80% of the total population. The market for passenger cars will be around 7.2 million a year, almost the size of the current US market. Over 320 million people will travel by air within the country each year, meaning nearly a million Indians will take to the skies each day.
With all this progress in mind, the Republic of India is considered one of the emerging superpowers of the world. This potential is attributed to several indicators, the primary ones being its demographic trends and a rapidly expanding economy and by GDP India became world’s fastest growing economy in 2018 with 8.4% GDP rate (mid-year terms).
The country must overcome many economic, social, and political problems before it can be considered a superpower. It is also not yet as influential on the international stage when compared to United States and former Soviet Union.
Just a few years ahead, the world is expected to exit the
“fossil fuel age”, and perhaps the “nuclear energy age”, and enter the “renewable-energy age” or even further into the “fusion power age”, if and whenever these technologies become economically sustainable. Being a region in the sunny tropical belt, the Indian subcontinent could greatly benefit from a renewable energy trend, as it has the ideal combination of both – high solar insolation and a big consumer base density.
India and her citizens seem to be ready for these developments. Indians are getting richer faster than residents of any other major economy. Private wealth in the country has been rising spectacularly. It grew 98% between 2008 and 2018 and is expected to grow even faster in the next 10 years. By 2028, the total private wealth held by Indians will be around $23 trillion (Rs 1,590 lakh crore), the report estimates. This will be more than double the total wealth held by individuals in the UK and Germany then.
If Indians are changing so will their cities. This is where the Smart Cities Mission comes in.
Definition of Smart Cities vary from broad descriptions such as the Smart City Council’s “a city that has digital technology embedded across all city functions” to more data-driven explanations such as IBM’s “a city that makes optimal use of all the interconnected
information available today to better understand and control its operations and optimize the use of limited resources”.
In future, Smart City technologies are likely to expand in scope and revolutionize areas such as healthcare, education and policing, while also supporting the growth and development of engaged residents capable of understanding and utilising digital solutions and services. We shall call them Smart Citizens.
Smart Cities Mission envisions developing an area within 100 cities in the country as model areas
based on an area development plan, which is expected to have a rub-off effect on other parts of the city, and nearby cities and towns.
Cities will be selected based on the Smart Cities challenge, where cities will compete in a countrywide competition to obtain the benefits from this mission.
As of last January, 99 cities have been selected to be upgraded as part of the Smart Cities Mission after they defeated other cities in the challenge.
It is a five-year program in which, except for West Bengal, all of the Indian states and Union territories are participating by nominating at least one city for the Smart Cities challenge. Financial aid will be given by the central and state governments
between 2017-2022 to the cities, and the mission will start showing results from 2022 onwards.
The Union government agreed to give each of the cities Rs 100 crore every year for five years, with an equal contribution coming from the state government and the urban local body combined. SMC is carried out through a special purpose vehicle (SPV), registered under the Companies Act, 2013, instead of through a municipal corporation, and also encourages private investment.
These cities will be developed to have basic infrastructure such as assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT
connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation. Some of key features of Smart Cities are: Promoting mixed land use in area-based developments, housing and inclusiveness, creating walkable localities, preserving and developing open spaces, promoting a variety of transport options, making governance citizen-friendly and cost effective, giving an identity to the city and applying Smart Solutions to infrastructure and services in area- based development.
Among the projects in SCM are affordable housing, integrated multi-modal transport, creation and preservation of open spaces, and waste and traffic management, among others. The projects focus either on a particular area of the city or the entire city.
Throughout the history, technology has played a critical role in the evolution of cities. Urban sanitation can be traced to the Indus Valley Civilization, the remnants of which were found to incorporate early waste and drainage systems, making streets and waterways more hygienic. The next era of urban innovation will be based on advances in technology.
This time, however, progress will be in the digital realm, where emerging technology such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) is facilitating the emergence of Smart Cities featuring advanced information and communication technology, helping drive sustainable development and improving the quality of life. Real estate has a key role to play in Smart City development and is also set to be one of the major beneficiaries of this new technology.
The integration of Smart Buildings with various components like energy, technology etc. will bring multitude of benefits for the real estate industry, while redefining several long-standing trends and fundamentals.
This means there will be more data-driven real estate development. The increased availability of data will enable stakeholders to better understand a property or site, its surroundings and residents. This can be used to guide site selection, planning process and building design.
Examples include an investor using foot traffic data generated by embedded sensors to inform its selection of sites to construct new retail premises, or a tenant doing the same to lease a property. However, given privacy concerns, this could be challenging unless such data is provided by the Government as an open source.
Smart buildings, which use automated processes to control a variety of operations such as tracking and managing energy, environment, security and other key features, are expected to see stronger demand in the coming years.
Advances in technology are transforming the traditional processes of companies deciding on a location where they would like to do business;
buying or leasing an office; fitting it out to their specifications; and installing it with technology for their staff to perform their jobs.
The digital age is reversing this process; individuals are in the driving seat and companies’ decisions are being informed by connectivity and accessibility as well as talent attraction and retention. While location will remain important, this will require buildings and workspaces to be far more flexible and adaptable than before. New developments will therefore have to be constructed with flexibility in mind.
All this technology means that data centres are set to play a leading role in Smart Cities as repositories for massive volume of data will be required to be collected, stored, analysed and archived. Data centres are already becoming as important a part of business operations as office, retail and industrial assets, supported by increasingly digital world, IT development and the importance enterprise IT strategy plays in business delivery.
This will drive demand for state-of-the-art data centre development in and around the Smart Cities. While the real estate industry is making rapid progress in development and innovation of Smart Buildings, it is critical that they gain a thorough understanding of how these developments will fit into and align with the broader Smart City ecosystem.
In particular, real estate industry stakeholders will need to understand emerging data sources and how they can capitalize on them to inform the development, construction and management of property assets.