Our Approach

CITIIS is the main component of the ‘Supporting Smart Cities Mission for a more Inclusive and Sustainable Urban Development in India’ launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in, 2018. The program aims at putting in place a complementary instrument to the Smart Cities Mission that provides a financing incentive and technical support to demonstrative projects selected in a competitive process. The program develops peer learning activities and cooperation between smart cities to enhance the capitalisation of best practices at state and national levels.

Technical Assistance

The CITIIS program has been designed to incorporate critical thinking, planning and results-based monitoring to ensure that the projects are well structured at the time of implementation. Therefore, the tailor-made mentorship program is unique and is being undertaken in India for the first time.

Fourteen mentors and experts from six countries and 11 cities bring with them global experiences in urban infrastructure development. This pool works with the selected cities over a period of three years in all aspects of sustainable urban project delivery. 

  • With these objectives the experts handhold their project SPVs to create a roadmap for the project, finalise the project logical framework (PLF) with the team, map stakeholders, suggest global best practices that have the potential to be contextualised, and guide the strategy of the projects through their lifecycle.
  • In July 2019, the experts and their SPVs were part of a five-day initiation workshop where they exchanged experiences, and ideas. It was also an opportunity for all the stakeholders to interact with each other, understand their role in the program and begin the development of a roadmap for implementing the objectives of the maturation phase.

Through this technical assistance we see a shift from capacity substitution to capacity building. The experts work with their cities to refine project quality in line with CITIIS principles of participation, integration, and innovation. There is an emphasis on new strategies for partnerships and collaboration, gauging institutional capacity to be restructured while developing a framework for the SPVs.

For the first time SPVs are being staffed for Environmental and Social Safeguards officers as well as Public and Community Engagement Officers who ensure that the voices of the involved communities are heard and their concerns are addressed during project planning.

Technology Adaptation

  • The CITIIS program uses technology to manage complex programs like project monitoring, evaluation and management. The Smart Cities Mission and the CITIIS program followed a ‘Comprehensively Designed Call for Projects,’ through a competitive process where the criteria for selection was not amongst cities, but between projects. 

To make this process of selection seamless and transparent, the program adopted technology-based interventions like, the use of the SmartNet website to receive and review project applications.

  • The program is also developing the CITIIS Management Platform (CMP) for program monitoring which, contributes to the promotion of an integrated urban management platform.
  • The platform is a repository of knowledge products, key documentation and allows the stakeholders to share best practices that can be replicated within the urban ecosystem.
  • The tool facilitates communication and coordination between all the stakeholders and ensures real time monitoring of project progress. It also promotes collaboration between projects where, smaller, lesser equipped SPVs can learn from better prepared ones on various aspects, including organisational management, human resources, financial management and project planning.


The CITIIS maturation phase aims to introduce and strengthen global best practices of project design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, community engagement and environmental and social safeguards across all projects through, a comprehensive 24-step maturation framework. Beginning with a roadmap the phase is divided across four sections;

  • project structuring,
  • stakeholder engagement,
  • capacity enhancement and
  • mainstreaming of CITIIS values.

A necessary deliverable within this matrix is the Project Logical Framework (PLF) through the Logical Framework Approach (LFA). The goal of the PLF is to use the principles of LFA and build a shared understanding of the approach within each project and to develop both indicators for project progress and means of verifying them for monitoring. Each project framework will finally include its long-term goal and the outcomes, outputs and activities required to reach the goal.

The maturation framework was developed by the PMU in consultation with Espelia, a Paris based consultancy for management of public services and AFD. The team together created a template for the maturation roadmap and report. At the project and program level a project reporting tool and monitoring guide were created. Over the course of nine months the many steps of the framework work in tandem with one another leading ultimately to implementation of projects after assessing and mitigating their risks.

The final deliverable of the framework is a maturation report. To arrive at this report, the projects use tools like results-based monitoring and promotes the development of ‘pilot projects,’ that may fail. This process aims at creating a culture of sustained transformation by allowing trial and error to gauge what works in the project context. Each project also develops a communication and outreach plan after mapping their stakeholders, staff the SPVs with environment and social and public engagement officers who, assess the E&S impacts and mitigation measures that need to be adopted. To facilitate this process, the experts work with their cities to help them arrive at the most conducive plan while, also getting assistance from the CITIIS Program Management Unit (PMU) across all stages.