New Delhi, 20th May 2015: In a determined effort to upgrade the current landscape of Indian cities and make them liveable, Prime Minister Modi's quest to build 100 smart cities is the most ambitious project launched for the development of the country.
According to an estimate, by the year 2050, the population in Indian cities will touch 843 million. To accommodate this extensive urbanisation, India needs to find smarter ways to manage complexities, reduce expenses, increase efficiency, and improve the quality of urban life.
The smart cities program has received considerable support and wide spread interest from countries and international organizations to explore investment and collaborative opportunities with India.
Under the government's 100 smart cities programme, approved by the Cabinet last month, each selected city will receive central assistance of Rs 100 crore annually for five years driving economic growth and taking progress forward. Special emphasis will be given to participation of citizens in prioritizing and planning urban interventions.
As per industry body NASSCOM, the government's smart cities programme can create business opportunities to the tune of $30-40 billion for the IT sector over the next 5-10 years.
Supporting the Prime Ministerï¿½s vision for ï¿½Smart Citiesï¿½, the capital witnessed the opening of Smart Cities India 2015 expo at Pragati Maidan today. Organized by Exhibitions India, this global knowledge platform for the smart cities industry is a three day long conference and exhibition being held at Pragati Maidan, from 20th to 22nd May, 2015.
Babul Supriyo Minister of Urban Development, and for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, present on the occasion, said ï¿½Smart Cities is among the most vital initiatives of our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. To fulfill this dream of building self-sustainable and citizen friendly cities, we need an enlightened mind to make it a reality. It is time we think, plan and act fast. When we know we are walking in the right direction, the only option left for us is to just walk fast. The housing and urban development ministry is working 24 * 7 and is open for innovative ideas to empower the dream of smart cities.ï¿½
Guest of Honour for the event H.E. Mr. Harald Sandberg, Ambassador of Sweden said, ï¿½It is commendable that India is committed to developing the country in smarter and a sustainable way. Public-private partnership is the way forward for this initiative. Sweden has gained relevant experience through over-coming water and pollution related challenges and thereby transforming Sweden to an eco-friendly country. The ambitious smart cities project in India demands small steps to be taken by every citizen to make it a sprawling success.ï¿½
The inaugural ceremony saw key note speakers sharing their vision on Smart Cities. The welcome address included Industry leaders such as Mr. Dinesh Malkani, President, CISCO, India; Mr. BVR Mohan Reddy, Chairman, NASSCOM and Executive Chairman, Cyient, India; along with Mr. Rakesh Kaul, Partner-Government and Public services, PwC, India.
ï¿½Urbanisation in India is happening at an accelerating rate. By 2031, the population in the urban areas will increase to 600 million from current 377 million. This will boost the increase in the middle class section of the society that will generate larger aspirations seeking better quality of life and sustainable eco-system. Smart cities concept would require enormous knowledge transfer to devise solutions that are suitable for the Indian scenarioï¿½ shared Mr. BVR Mohan Reddy, Chairman, NASSCOM and Executive Chairman, Cyient, India.
Mr. Rakesh Kaul, Partner-Government and Public services, PwC, India said, ï¿½Smart Cities concept is built on 4 pillars that includes Physical (Infrastructure), Social (Health, Education, and Entertainment), Institutional (Municipalities & City Managers), Economic (Ease of doing business in India). The initiatives should be commercially viable, socially inclusive and maintain ecological balance.ï¿½
Smart Cities India 2015 expo brought together experts and leaders from 40 countries to define the roadmap for Indian cities. The three-day expo is divided into two parts; one is the exhibition, with a large number of varied product displays and solutions by national and international companies from across the world, showcasing the latest technologies; and the second is the multi-sectoral, multiple conference sessions.
Prem Behl, Chairman, Exhibitions India Pvt Ltd, elaborated, ï¿½The conference sessions could define India's aspirational goals; the features and functions to be applied; the best practices that will help gain maximum benefits at the minimum cost; and with reduced risk.ï¿½
The conference sessions held on the first day of the expo saw extensive discussion on Smart cities urban planning: session with NIUA, smart cities foundation: fabric of converged technologies - session by NASSCOM, green energy a must for smart cities: session by TERI & USGBC, management of water, solid waste and sanitation in smart cities, financing smart cities initiatives to name a few.
207 domestic and international participants showcased their products and services to buyers, industry representatives, center, state and local body officials with industry representatives, town and city planners, architects, realtors, academia, students and media, etc.
Exhibiting companies included Hewlett-Packard, Wipro, CISCO, Schneider Electric, Lavasa, Barco, Berger Paints India, Basildon Borough Council, L&T Construction, Zippr Pvt Ltd, Volvo, Skipper Ltd, Neo Zeo, Royal Appliances, Newgen Group etc.
Smart Cities India 2015 expo hosted country pavilions from Poland, Sweden and European Business &Technology Center (EBTC).
Sweden, which has expertise in urban planning, power, sustainable transport and waste management, sees business opportunities with India through PPP model. The representatives from the country were pleased to interact with quality business visitors present at the expo.
Poland expressed interest to partner with Indiaï¿½s smart cities and industrial corridors, exploring investments in power and mining sectors in many Indian states and the Smart Cities India 2015 expo served as the platform to display and lead workshops on ï¿½Smart and Green Solutions from Polandï¿½ which will be held on the third day of the event.
Europe has arguably most of the successful smart and sustainable city references in the world with an emphasis on ï¿½quality of livingï¿½ of its citizens. During the expo, EBTC will facilitate many city-to-city experience sharing and matchmaking sessions between the European delegation and Indian representatives.
Kinetics Group, one of the pioneering groups in automobiles in India launched an exclusive book regarding smart cities, named "Smart City Zero Pollution Sustainable Smart Industrial Cityï¿½ which is authored by Mr. Arun Firodia, Chairman, Kinetic Group.
ï¿½Smart Cities is among the most vital endeavor of our Prime minister, Narender Modi. To fulfill this dream of building smart self-sustainable and citizen friendly cities, we need an enlightened mind to make it a downright reality. It is time we think, plan and act fast. When we know we are walking in right direction, the only option left for us is to just walk fast. The housing and urban development ministry is working 24 * 7 and is open for innovative ideas to empower the dream of smart cities.ï¿½ Said Babul Supriyo, Minister of health and urban development.
In the end I would just like to conclude that the initiative though is a challenging one, but is certainly not impossible to accomplish, added the minister.
The next two days of the expo will feature exchange of information and ideas on the transformation that the country will foresee in the coming years. Valuable insights and understanding challenges in the real world will be gained through this, one of a kind, exposition. Representatives from global leading companies will continue to hold deliberations along with eminent speakers from state and local bodies, town and city planners, worldï¿½s renowned architects, realtors, and academia.