Seeking business opportunities in India’s Smart City initiative, the US on Tuesday said it is looking to participate in all the proposed 100 smart city projects and offered technological support for developing a sustainable economy.
US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews, who is on a five-day visit to India, said that the US can be a “valuable partner” for India in providing sustainable solutions for Smart City initiative. He is leading a delegation of 18 US companies on a Smart Cities Infrastructure Business Development Mission.
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Andrews said the delegation comprising 18 US firms have come to meet both policy makers and Indian businesses and would showcase the great technologies that provide great value and potential for India. “We believe that US can be a very valuable partner in helping India to develop sustainable economy,” Andrews said, adding that there are substantial business opportunities for the US companies in India’s smart city projects.
US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) Director Leocadia Zak said the US has helped in master planning of Visakhapatnam smart city and is provided technical support to Allahabad and Ajmer. “This is the beginning of the process. Our efforts are not limited to three cities. US businesses have the technological solutions which will be helpful across India,” Andrews said.
Zak also said that the US is looking forward to work for all the smart city projects. Terming financing of these smart cities projects as one of the challenge, Andrews said there would be multi-financial channel for these projects, including the central government, local government and businesses.
Yesterday, the US delegation met Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, who assured them that Special Purpose Vehicles being set up for implementation of Smart City plans will be empowered to ensure timely execution of all projects by taking required decisions and ensuring necessary coordination.
The government had recently announced the first batch of 20 smart cities from 11 states and Delhi. Apart from Bhubaneshwar, the cities in the first batch are Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bhopal, NDMC area of Delhi, Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Jabalpur, Visakhapatnam, Solapur, Davanagere, Indore, Coimbatore, Kakinada, Belagavi, Udaipur, Guwahati and Ludhiana.
Altogether, 100 cities are to be developed into smart cities as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious programme. For this, the Centre has earmarked Rs 48,000 crore and the states will have to contribute an equal amount. Under the programme, each selected city will be given Rs 500 crore over a period of five years by the Centre with the respective states expected to make the matching contribution.