Part 5 of the article series details how international funding is aiding the growth and development of Smart Cities in India
The Indian government requires funds to develop Smart cities. Instead of burdening tax payers, the key to increase national treasury is to encourage existing global tie-ups & form new associations. The Union government has approached various global institutions like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), etc., for financial assistance on various smart city projects. The World Bank has agreed to loan 500 million pounds whereas the ADB is to loan 1 billion pounds between 2015- 2020 towards the Smart Cities’ Initiative. Countries supporting India in the development of smart cities include the UK, US, France, Spain, Germany, Canada, Japan and Singapore. Some of these countries are existing partners of Government of India (GoI) in the development of capital cities like Amaravathi (Andhra Pradesh) or some union territories like Puducherry, Chandigarh, etc.
France plans to aid India in the development of three Smart Cities- Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry. The French Development Agency (Agence Française de Developpement) has already signed MoUs (Memorandum of Understanding) with the respective government bodies of Chandigarh, Puducherry and Maharashtra (Nagpur) to provide assistance in urban development, harnessing water & solar energies, transport and waste treatment. The Engineering Projects India Limited (EPI) is to partner with nine French companies and focus on infrastructure and integrated railway solutions projects. France has committed a total of 2 billion euros towards this mission.
Germany meanwhile intends to develop Kochi, Bhubaneswar and Coimbatore. It will help with residential transformation, clean water supply, waste water management and source infrastructure for harnessing renewable forms of energy. Apart from skill and expertise, investments of ~320 million euros are expected across the three cities. Bhubaneswar will also get additional funds for modernizing transport projects such as non-motorized transport, public bicycle sharing, e-rickshaws and public bus transport system from Germany.
United States of America intends to back India in the development of Allahabad, Ajmer and Vishakhapatnam. Detailed agreements have been signed between the respective state governments and the United States Trade & Development Agency. The global major, will fund pilot studies & feasibility studies to help cities in project planning, workshops & trainings, exchange of technical information, logistics, capacity building, developing infrastructure and transport.
UK government has partnered to develop Pune, Amaravathi and Indore. Both Amaravathi & Pune fall on the Bangalore- Mumbai Industrial corridor with presence of several British companies. The focus will be to upgrade traffic conditions, educational facilities, healthcare provisions, clean river initiatives and infrastructure. UK has committed to 4.5 million pounds over the next four years towards developing these cities, with Pune receiving a major chunk of the finances.
Spain has offered technical assistance to transform Delhi-NCR (zones towards Dwarka, Rohini and Narela) into a smart city. Ministry of Economy & Competitiveness, Kingdom of Spain, ICEX Espangna, Spain Trade &Investments are currently coordinating with the Ministry of Urban Development, India on the specifications of this venture. Technical expertise will be provided in areas of infrastructure, urban planning & management, housing, water management, energy and utilities, mobility, environment, sanitation, and public goods & services. De-congestion tactics, latest amenities in education, adequate water supply, WiFi, green technology, rainwater harvesting, entertainment, improved healthcare centres, and estate management techniques & technologies will also be covered under it.
Termed as framework for Smart Heritage City Program, Japan has stepped forward to fund the facelift of Varanasi & Agra. Varanasi will follow the footsteps of Kyoto in areas of environmental conservation and technological modernization, art &culture and education. Similarly, the iconic city of Agra will be revamped with the inclusion of renewable energy & infrastructure projects while preserving the city’s historic character. Japanese Government has decided to provide financial aid of US$34 billion towards the development of the two cities and bullet trains over the next five years. Japanese conglomerate NEC is already working on a security & forensic projects in Surat, Gujarat. Besides this, Japan is already providing India with technical & financial assistance for the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC).
Apart from financial aid, technical assistance and expertise on urban development will be provided alongside program management, supervision & evaluation support by UK, Singapore and Canada. Canada has additionally offered India its wooden multi-storey housing and waste water recycling technology to complete India’s affordable ‘Housing for All’ mission by 2022.
With proposals from countries like China and South Korea underway for construction of fast trains and Smart Cities, India has succeeded in attracting attention of the global economies & international business community.
In the next part, we will explore the challenges that Smart Cities’ initiative faces.