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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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The Answer to The Impending Questions On Demonetization Are Here

While it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

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Indian Currency. Pixabay

Nearly all of the currency removed from circulation in a surprise 2016 attempt to root out illegal hoards of cash came back into the financial system, Resever Bank of India  has announced, indicating the move did little to slow the underground economy.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s currency decree, which was designed to destroy the value of billions of dollars in untaxed cash stockpiles, caused an economic slowdown and months of financial chaos for tens of millions of people or demonetization.

Modi announced in a November 2016 TV address that all 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes, then worth about $7.50 and $15, would be withdrawn immediately from circulation. The banned notes could be deposited into bank accounts but the government also said it would investigate deposits over 250,000 rupees, or about $3,700. The government eventually released new currency notes worth 500 and 2,000 rupees.

 

demonetization
An activist of Congress party hold the banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

 

In theory, the decree meant corrupt politicians and businesspeople would suddenly find themselves sitting on billions of dollars in worthless currency, known here as “black money.”

“A few people are spreading corruption for their own benefit,” Modi said in the surprise nighttime speech announcement of the order. “There is a time when you realize that you have to bring some change in society, and this is our time.”

But even as the decree caused turmoil for those in India who have always depended on cash — the poor and middle class, and millions of small traders — the rich found ways around the currency switch. In the months after the decree, businesspeople said that even large amounts of banned currency notes could be traded on the black market, though middlemen charged heavy fees.

demonetization
Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with mayor, flickr

The reserve bank of India report said in its Wednesday report that 99.3 percent of the $217 billion in notes withdrawn from circulation had come back into the economy. Some officials had originally predicted that number could be as low as 60 percent.

Also Read: Diverse Gathering To Be Addressed This World BioFuel Day: PM Narendra Modi

“Frankly, I think demonetization was a mistake,” said Gurcharan Das, a writer and the former head of Proctor & Gamble in India. He said that while it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

“You can’t overnight change that in a country which is poor and illiterate. Therefore, for me it’s not only an economic failure but a moral failure as well,” Das said. (VOA)

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