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Meeting to be convened on Smart Cities Project in India

New Delhi: Minister of Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu today reviewed the suggestions/views/feedback from states and Union Territories at the National Conclave on Smart Cities held. Unanimously welcoming the Smart Cities initiative of the central government, states made ten broad suggestions including seeking flexibility in implementation, capacity building, technical assistance in preparation of project reports, higher financial assistance etc. Shri Naidu directed the officials to examine in detail the suggestions of states and prepare a proposal for discussion at an inter-ministerial meeting to be held. Ministers of Finance and Defence, Highways and Surface Transport, Railways, Power, Environment and Forests are proposed to be invited for this meeting. Reiterating the importance of smart leadership in developing smart cities, Shri Venkaiah Naidu said he would write to all the chief ministers on the need for proper decision making to enhance revenues of urban local bodies and improving urban governance. The following suggestions were received from the states in respect of implementation of Smart Cities project: 1. Flexibility in implementation; 2. Incentivising performance; 3. Capacity building for technology adoption; 4. Higher central assistance in view of the resource constraints ofurban local bodies; 5. Expeditious clearances by the Government of India; 6. Higher level of Viability Gap Funding in respect of solid waste management and water supply projects; 7. Capital expenditure to be borne by central government since private operators can only manage the operations and maintenance with utility charges; 8. Special Purpose Vehicles to be created for executing the projects; 9. Centre to bear the cost of preparation of feasibility and project reports; 10. Centre to guide in respect of cutting edge technologies since the same is not in the domain of states/UTs. Some states referred to the difficulties associated with adoption of Public – Private Partnership model in respect of some urban projects in view of the complexities involved and levying of user charges.

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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