Working Paper

Towards smarter service provision first page

Towards Smarter Service Provision for Smart Cities

Focusing on Indian cities, this resource uses the social cost accounting methodology to understand various costs associated with urban service delivery.


India is one of the fastest growing countries in the world, and urbanization is both a challenge and an opportunity. One critical concern for India’s urbanizing future is the provision of basic urban services for all its citizens.

Using a social cost accounting (SCA) methodology, this paper estimates the social, economic, and environmental costs associated with the delivery of urban water, sanitation, transport, and energy services in four Indian cities. Case studies reveal that despite high coverage in the cities, the quantity and quality of services are inadequate, especially in the case of water and transport, and have high associated social costs. This research makes three key recommendations for India’s urban future: 1. Use of social cost accounting to plan services; 2. Integrated service planning to generate efficiencies across sectors; 3. Leveraging new models for service provision and entrepreneurial schemes. This report was produced by WRI India.