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100 smart cities: Hitachi, Siemens and CII sign MoU; project starts from April

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Hitachi India Limited and Siemens Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in the capital today to form a consortium that would create pilots and replicate them throughout the country for setting up 100 smart cities. The MoU was signed on behalf of Hitachi by their MD, Mr. Ichiro Iino and MD, Siemens Ltd, Mr. Sunil Mathur and DG, CII Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee in the presence of DIPP Secretary Mr. Amitabh Kant.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Amitabh Kant said that while cities occupy only 3 % of the total geographical area of the world, they contribute nearly 80% of GDP and 2/3rd of global emissions. Hence, there was a challenge to do urbanisation in an innovative and systematic manner.

The much awaited Smart Cities project which was declared last year is likely to be rolled out next month. NDA government had last year declared the mission of creating 100 Smart Cities across the nation based on better technology, superior management and modern governance.

Minister of Urban Development  M.Venkaiah Naidu on Monday had said that the two new major initiatives in the urban sector – development of Smart Cities and the New Urban Development Mission for 500 cities will take off next month. He announced about the project while speaking at a Symposium on Smart Cities on Monday. He informed that the necessary approvals for these two new schemes would be obtained at the earliest so that they can take off the ground next month.

Smart Cities being a transformative new initiative required extensive consultations with all the stakeholders including the states, urban local bodies, related central ministries, real estate developers and experts including architects, designers, urban planners etc. Four rounds of consultations were held with the states to sensitize them to the challenges of making the cities smart and urban governance reforms to be implemented.

On how a smart city is different from a city in which smart things happen, the Minister said a three-fold approach was taken. Explaining them, he said, “Retrofitting and redevelopment of unsustainable urban areas that we have inherited and identified for development as smart cities, and development of new smart cities.”

“We want smart cities to be developed to take advantage of and further evolve around their core economic activity, using it as an economic engine, like port cities, tourism cities, healthcare and educational cities,” he added. However, Naidu said the selection of the Smart City will be strictly on the basis of the criteria laid out by the government and no other consideration, including political ones, will be taken into account.

Basic urban services and amenities will be provided under the New Urban Development Mission for 500 cities while projects of wider impact based on area development would be taken up under the Smart Cities scheme. The Urban Development Minister while elaborating on the Government’s vision of urban development said that the Government is committed to enable sustainable and inclusive urban development to promote societal progress and economic opportunities for all.

Venkaiah Naidu has expressed concern over the unsustainable urban practices in the country. He said the urban sector initiatives are intended to promote efficient use of urban land, water and electricity to ensure that urbanization does not benefit the rich alone.

The Minister noted that architects have an important role to play in promoting sustainable urbanization through effective planning of physical spaces that promote living in harmony with the nature. Referring to the limited incentivisation of green construction, Naidu noted that it was time to consider if green planning could be enforced through mandatory regulation.

 

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Indian Companies Invested Over $4 Billion in South Africa, says CII

According to the report, leading Indian companies such as Wipro, state-run Coal India, Cipla, Jindal Steel and Power, Mahindra and Mahindra have recently made investments in South Africa.

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PwC Chief Executive (Southern Africa) Dion Shango said:
Companies, representational image, Pixabay

Indian companies have invested over $4 billion in South Africa and created 18,000 direct jobs in the continent’s biggest economy, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said on Sunday

According to a new CII report “Indian Industry’s Inclusive Footprint in South Africa – Doing business, doing good”, prepared jointly with British advisory multinational Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), there are 140 Indian companies operating in South Africa whose contributions go beyond foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country, and include key CSR and skill development initiatives.

“Indian companies operating in South Africa are not just investing funds and creating jobs, but are actively contributing to the upliftment of the communities in which they operate,” a CII release said here.

According to the report, leading Indian companies such as Wipro, state-run Coal India, Cipla, Jindal Steel and Power, Mahindra and Mahindra have recently made investments in South Africa.

According to the report, leading Indian companies such as Wipro, state-run Coal India, Cipla, Jindal Steel and Power, Mahindra and Mahindra have recently made investments in South Africa.
Indian companies invest in South Africa, pixabay

“In the healthcare sector, the entry of Indian pharma companies Ranbaxy and Cipla brought in drastic reduction in the cost of anti-retroviral drugs in South Africa, saving thousands of lives. Indian companies are taking steps to transfer skills to South Africans, particularly in the IT sector,” it said.

Also Read: Over 10 Lakh Bankers to go on Strike, Wants IBA to Improve Offer

In a statement, CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said: “The report highlights the journey of the historic and economic relationship between India and South Africa, looking at the key sectors where Indian companies are thriving.”

PwC Chief Executive (Southern Africa) Dion Shango said: “Indian companies are demonstrating their commitment to sustainable development in South Africa across education and healthcare schemes to job creation, agricultural projects and empowering women.”

A focus on ethical business practice comes through in the report, as this is of critical importance for Indian companies operating in South Africa, the statement added. (IANS)