India ranked seventh among the ten most affected countries by impacts of climate related extreme weather events (Global Climate Risk Index, 2021) and as the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG), the country accounts for about 7% of the global GHG emissions. Therefore, India is a critical actor when it comes to dealing with climate change related issues.
Rapid urbanisation in India poses significant challenges for the development of urban infrastructure, basic services and housing. High economic growth rates go hand in hand with an increase in urban population and changing consumption and mobility patterns. It is projected that the urban population in India surpasses 50% by 2050. As a consequence, Indian cities are causing increasing GHG emissions and have started to play a key role for Indian climate change policies. However, local capacities for efficient implementation of urban climate strategies are limited.
As a response to these challenges, the Government of India has introduced the ambitious Smart Cities Mission as part of a larger programme package for urban development in June 2015. Furthermore, following the Paris Agreements in 2014, India declared in their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to reduce the emission intensity by 33-35% compared to the 2005 levels by 2030. The development of climate resilient urban centres using the Smart Cities Mission is a major contribution to this mitigation strategy.