India accounts for six per cent of the world’s primary energy consumption. Rapid urbanization and rapid urban population growth have had a serious impact on energy consumption and subsequent carbon emissions. In particular, cities face a complex and interrelated set of challenges across different sectors (building environment, mobility, water and waste management and public services). Re-examining these challenges by integrating smart energy management (SEM) principles is critical for sustainable and low-carbon urban development. In addition, managing energy footprint is one of the most challenging goals for cities, and as existing cities evolve and transform into smart cities, SEM becomes an integral part of the urban transformation. This article comprehensively reviews the different SEM technologies for different sectors (construction, transportation, public services, water and waste), the policies, and the current challenges and opportunities for SEM policy governance in India. Making urban energy smart can manage a city’s energy footprint and have a positive impact on future carbon emissions.