During the 2021 budget session, the 15th Finance Commission proposed a substantial allocation of Rs 8,000 crore for incubating eight new cities across India, aiming to address the mounting demands of urbanization. Each city was slated to receive Rs 1,000 crore over the fiscal years 2021-22 to 2025-26, with a competitive selection process recommended, resulting in eight states qualifying for the initiative. Detailed guidelines were expected from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), setting the stage for significant urban development.
Fast forward to March 2023, the Rajya Sabha was informed that MoHUA had received 26 proposals from 21 states to develop new cities to meet the demand for urban expansion in the country, and that the proposals are undergoing scrutiny and evaluation. In a written response to a question, Minister of State for HUA, Kaushal Kishore, emphasized that the 15th Finance Commission had allocated Rs 8,000 crore for a performance-based challenge fund aimed at incubating eight new cities. Kishore stressed that each proposed city would receive Rs 1,000 crore. However, he informed that considering the small urban population in north-east and hill states, Rs 1,000 crore for two new cities (Rs 500 crore each) for two different states has been proposed.
“A state can only propose one new city through this fund. Thus, a maximum of nine new cities in nine states can be selected,” the minister said.
Kishore elucidated the competitive nature of the selection process, with states required to meet specific eligibility criteria and bid parameters. The deadline for bid submissions was set for January 20, 2023 resulting in a diverse array of proposals from across the nation, including Uttar Pradesh, showcasing the widespread interest and urgency surrounding urban development.
Among the proposals, Nagaland presented the Nagaki Global City project in the Chathe Valley, Chumoukedima district. Chief Minister Rio expressed enthusiasm during his 2023 Independence Day speech, detailing the proposed city’s scope and potential.
“I am happy to share with you the endeavor of the Urban Development Department for developing a new, modern planned city in the State. A detailed proposal for incubation of a new city has been submitted to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs,” said Rio informing the site identified for the new city in the Chathe Valley, Chumoukedima district covers an area of around 39 sq km.
Rio said several investment entities have already shown interest to partner with the state government in developing the new township. “The proposal of the state government is presently under evaluation with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for selection, and we are hopeful of its early consideration,” Rio had added.
He further explained that the site has been selected keeping in view its favorable geo-location, climatic conditions, and good connectivity, by National Highway and Railways.
“The necessary NOCs from all concerned for the land have been taken and other formalities regarding the same have been completed,” he had said.
In December 2023, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio reaffirmed the state government’s commitment to the Nagaki Global City project, underscoring its role in fostering economic growth and attracting investments. According to Rio, the concept of the city is to facilitate ease of doing business and attract potential investors to establish a sustainable commercial hub for the state and the region.
Meanwhile, Governor LA Ganesan highlighted the project’s advanced development stage during his address on Republic Day this year, signaling significant progress towards realizing the vision of a modern, sustainable city.
MB Singh, director of the G20 unit at the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Department, provided insights into the broader context of new city development, stressing the imperative of alleviating population pressure on existing urban centers. Singh outlined the meticulous evaluation process undertaken post-proposal submission, with eight new cities poised for development to meet evolving urbanization challenges.