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.