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India lays down broad road map on international collaboration in Smart Cities

New Delhi: Urban Development Minister, Venkaiah Naidu, while delivering the Keynote Address at the US – India Smart Cities Conclave emphasized that it was time to walk the talk on PM’s Mission on smart cities. He said unless the leadership is smart with smart vision, smart commitment and smart courage to take reforms the smart city mission cannot be realized. He highlighted that transparency and accountability is very important. Shri Naidu said that as a follow up of Hon’ble PM’s visit to the US, the United States has agreed to help develop the Indian cities of Visakhapatnam, Ajmer and Allahabad as Smart Cities. Also, Japan has come forward to help develop Varanasi as a smart city and Singapore has agreed to help develop the capital city of Andhra Pradesh between Vijayawada and Guntur. Barcelona has come forward to collaborate with DDA and the Ministry of Urban Development in developing a smart city near Delhi. Shri Naidu said that nature, culture and prosperity should go hand in hand and that smart cities in India should be developed keeping in mind the Indian culture and traditions and need not necessarily follow the western practices. He said that one size does not fit all. Shri Naidu added that smart cities should be people centric and should make life comfortable for the people. They have to be so planned as to have uninterrupted power, water, proper sanitation, efficient management of solid waste, decongestion of roads, last mile connectivity, effective use of ICT etc. He said that digitization of records, online applications and sanctions would reduce delays and corruption. He also said that just building smart cities is not enough sustainability has to be ensured. He suggested to the US-India Business Council to constitute sub-committees one for each of the three smart cities, go there and study and prepare an action plan and a blue print so that the Mission could be taken forward. Shri Naidu also mentioned about the huge talent in the country citing the example of Indians working in Silicon Valley and Indian doctors in the US. He urged all the Indians all over the world to come back to India to realize the dreams of PM. He also advised the people to learn, go abroad, earn and come back and contribute to nation building. Urban Development Minister said that the key to success in developing Smart Cities is collaboration. Financing is crucial to developing Smart Cities in India. He said that initiatives like PPP model in ports, airports, IT, Telecom etc. taken up during Vajpayee government was a turning point in India’s development. He also said that the government wants to assure red carpet and not red tape to all and ensure robust public private cooperation in building smart cities. Mr. Naidu commended the initiatives taken by US – India Business Council to bring captain of industries and policy makers from both countries. He also said that US President’s visit to India next year would further strengthen the cooperation between the two largest democracies in the world.

About Sanjay Trivedi

Sanjay Trivedi is honorary editor of Asia Times. He is senior Indian Journalist having vast experience of 25 years. He worked in Janmabhoomi, Vyapar, Divya Bhaskar etc. newspapers and TV9 Channel as well as www.news4education.com. He also served as Media Officer in Gujarat Technological University.

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