Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, launched e-Nagar project on the evening of February 26, 2014, while speaking in Gandhinagar. This project will focus on developing smart and intelligent cities that put forth features like:
- Geo-Spatial mapping (resource mapping for developmental plans)
- City civic centres
- Intelligent transit system with GPS
- Citizen service portal
- Self-help kiosk and call centres
- Wi-Fi hotspots
Eight areas in Ahmedabad will be Wi-Fi zones following which the project will be extended to 53 towns in Gujarat. Talking about the initiative, Modi said, “Our dream is that of a digital India, and a digital Gujarat is a start in this direction. And today is the first step — of making Ahmedabad a Wi-Fi city.” Modi began his address by talking about the penetration of technology and how the ease of use has brought the power of technology into the hands of one and all.
This effort comes after Nitish Kumar Chief Minister of Bihar announced a 20km Wi-Fi zone in Patna. This Wi-Fi zone reportedly runs between the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Patna (located at Ashok Rajpath) and Danapur town in western Patna. And before these two, Bangalore was the first city to get a Wi-Fi zone from the government. The popular MG Road in Bangalore where the Metro runs is a free Wi-Fi zone and the service is enjoyed by many in the city.
These initiatives showcase the power of technology and how governments are waking up and embracing the new developments. India doesn’t have a good track record with public Wi-Fi zones but the rise in the number of projects is definitely a good sign. India is far away from making this a norm but there are countries like Finland where internet is a legal right!
Related read: Lessons for entrepreneurs from Narendra Modi