Seven major cities, including Delhi and Mumbai, have been given Rs 226 crore for augmenting infrastructure for surveillance, Union Minister Hansraj Ahir said today. Addressing the fourth Smart Cities Summit here, Minister of State for Home Ahir said the role of data and IT, especially video surveillance in enhancing security, has become vital. For SMART policing, the Home Ministry has provided Rs 226 crore under the Mega City Policing scheme for seven big cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The minister said with rising public security awareness, increasing government security spending and initiatives such as Smart Cities and surging digitisation, the government sector has become the major player in the surveillance market, both in India and globally. Ahir said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also laid stress on SMART policing towards making cities safe and secure. SMART stands for Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive, and Techno-savvy and Trained. The minister said since video surveillance systems act as crime deterrent - criminals are less likely to commit crimes in the area in the presence of advanced, well-covered video monitoring system. Across India, police officials reel off cases where CCTVs have made all the difference in identifying offenders and speeding up investigations. Public surveillance cameras can be a cost effective way to deter, monitor and reduce crimes, he said. Ahir said public safety and security is increasingly an issue of concern for both the government and the citizens, adding cities which can assure security are a favoured destination over others. The ambitious and inspiring Smart Cities Mission launched by the government in 2015, with the 'Smart City Challenge' of building 100 smart cities over the next five years, is certainly going to boost the formation of safe and secure cities going forward, he said. The minister said even in an industry accustomed to waves of change, video surveillance is set to go through a metamorphic change, and an unprecedented period of disruption and innovation. Moreover, escalating video surveillance adaptation rate and increasing demand for high-tech technologies in the private sector has also become an important driver of the outstanding growth of the surveillance market, he said. Ahir said each sector, especially public and private segments, has very varied needs and requirements and newer technologies such as full body scanners, cyber security and UAVs are going to play an increasing role in making cities safer.
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