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Foreign companies keen on Smart Cities project: Venkaiah Naidu

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Paris, Oct 8 : Companies from across the world have bid for the project to build Smart Cities in India, said Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu who added that the French want to take up three of the cities.

In an interview to Media India Group, Naidu, who was in France for a three-day visit, called for greater participation of the people in the government’s ambitious project of building 100 Smart Cities.

He expressed confidence that the project of building the Smart Cities would go ahead full steam as a lot of companies from across the globe have come forward to bid for the project.

“The French also want to take up three cities – Pondicherry, Nagpur and Chandigarh. You have similar interest from Germany, US, Singapore, Japan. So, I do not see any hurdle. We have provided the seed capital in terms of Rs 5 billion for each city and then it is upto the municipal administration and the private sector companies to raise the finances for the rest,” he said.

Naidu said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tried to get the common people of India involved in all the initiatives of the new government, be it Digital India, Swachch Bharat or even the Smart Cities.

“The prime minister has clearly stated that these are not the initiatives that have been carved out in some government offices and which can be implemented only by the government officials. In all of these, we need the participation of the people and we are seeing a lot of proactive involvement.

“For instance, in the Clean India campaign, we have sports personalities, cinema stars and other leaders joining in. Similarly,
for Smart Cities, we need to involve people as Smart Cities must have Smart people, not just buildings and other infrastructure,” he said.

On his visit to Bordeaux, where he attended a Global Intelligent Transportation Summit, along with ministers from 30 other countries, Naidu said that the conference and the accompanying exhibition have been a very good learning experience and that he would like to see the possibility of implementing some of the intelligent transport solutions in India.

“It is important for us to keep abreast with what the rest of the world is doing so we can implement the latest solutions which are best adapted for our country,” Naidu told the Media India Group.

(By Ranvir Nayar,IANS)

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As The Election Nears, India’s Opposition Promises Several Economic Steps

Modi said at the Delhi convention that the opposition was working on a "desperate alliance," while the BJP would give a "strong government."

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Rahul Gandhi, Election
Rahul Gandhi, president of India's main opposition Congress Party, speaks at a rally ahead of October's 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 11, 2019. VOA

India’s main opposition Congress Party will simplify the goods and services tax (GST) and make “rational economic decisions” to attract foreign investment if voted back to power in a general election due by May, leader Rahul Gandhi said Saturday.

Launched in 2017, the GST was initially hailed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s biggest economic reform as it replaced more than a dozen federal and state levies and unified Asia’s third-largest economy.

But its chaotic implementation and complexities — months after a shock ban by Modi on high-value bank currency aimed at unearthing untaxed wealth — badly hurt small businesses and led to millions of job losses in the cash-driven economy, presenting the biggest challenge to Modi’s re-election chances.

India,India, elections, BJP
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents in New Delhi, India. VOA

 

Gandhi, scion of India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, said during a visit to Dubai that foreign investment was at a multiyear low in India because of the “ill-advised and badly thought out economic moves” such as the currency ban and a “poorly designed GST.”

Quick growth promised

“We will take some rational economic decisions,” he told a press conference, which was broadcast live on Twitter. “We will restructure the GST and we will embrace investments from the Middle East and other parts of the world. We are the party of [India’s economic] liberalization; we are the party that gave the fastest economic growth in the first decade of the century, and will do that again.”

He said his main priority would be to create jobs, simplify the GST, rebuild confidence in institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India — whose governor resigned recently after a fight over autonomy with the government, and the Supreme Court.

Modi, election
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, is garlanded by BJP leaders on the first day of the two-day Bharatiya Janata Party national convention in New Delhi, Jan. 11, 2019. VOA

 

Four Supreme Court judges held a rare press conference early last year, saying that “unless this institution is preserved and it maintains its equanimity, democracy will not survive in this country.”

Modi told a BJP convention in New Delhi on Saturday that for Congress “every institution was wrong and only they were right.”

The Congress press conference was organized by the Indian Overseas Congress, which is present in about 35 countries, as Gandhi tries to reach out to rich Indians living abroad for funds and social media support for the party that has dominated the country’s politics for decades before being nearly decimated in the last general election in 2014 by Modi.

But back home, Gandhi received a jolt when bitter rivals, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP), announced an election tie-up without Congress in Uttar Pradesh state, which sends the highest number of lawmakers to the lower house of parliament.

Narendra Modi, India, election
Elaborate preparations for PM’s election rally. VOA

“The BSP and SP have made a political decision,” Gandhi said. “It’s on us on how to strengthen the Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh and we will fight with our full capacity. Whether we do or their alliance does, the BJP is not winning there.”

Also Read:China, India Keen on Joint Ventures For e-vehicles

Modi said at the Delhi convention that the opposition was working on a “desperate alliance,” while the BJP would give a “strong government.”

The Hindu nationalist BJP lost power in three key states recently, forcing the government to announce a flurry of measures to woo small businesses and the less well-off since then. (VOA)