Smart Cities project must look into incorporating creative arts clusters which can create a critical mass of 24/7 available activities to showcase and leverage the city’s culture.
NITI Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant stressed on the need to include art and culture into the Smart Cities project to make them greater and better.
Kant said, “While urbanising cities, it is important that we create cities, which have cultural institutions, where artists can bring lives to the cities, stimulate our inspiration, provide better quality of life.”
According to a FICCI-EY (Ernst and Young) report titled ‘Creative arts in India’, the Smart Cities mission provides a significant opportunity to promote creative industries in India. Creative clusters in Smart Cities, which are unique to the character, resources and the local community, can serve as a focal point to brand a city’s unique cultural identity and embrace its historic significance.
The report also includes a survey with eminent personalities in the industry to understand the challenges faced by the sector. Inadequate infrastructure has emerged as the top most challenge, with obtaining sponsorships and onerous regulations governing the sector completing the top three.
The report highlights the regulatory support the industry expects from the government, with easing out of permissions, rationalisation of entertainment tax and availability of credit emerging as the top three.
It said Kant also suggested a review of the educational system for the young people in the country so that they are exposed to arts and culture, and learn to appreciate these aspects of life.
“Technology for smart cities without art and culture component will create lop-sided development only. Therefore, you need to take efforts to design, attract, retain and nurture the creative workforce of our cities. Technology and art and culture must embrace each other. We cannot have smart cities without art and culture. One critical thing is that we need to get all our city planners, who are frozen in time, to break their mindset,” Kant said, while adding that the planners must interact with artists and people who worked in the field of art and culture.
The report also highlights key recommendations for the sustained success of the Indian theatre, dance and crafts industry which are from an association/body of India theatre/dance and craft practitioners that exclusively worked for the upliftment and promotion of the sector, involve the private sector to invest in the creative arts of the country by adequately incentivising them through tax incentives; develop creative clusters showcasing the region’s local culture within Smart Cities to attract tourists and residents.