At a seminar organised by FICCI in association with Embassy of France in India and Ministry of Urban Development, French ambassador in India, Francois Richier announced France’s commitment of investing more than 2 billion euros to support the smart city initiative in the country. The seminar was on ‘Towards Smart and Sustainable Cities’.
At the seminar, ambassador Richier also asserted that France will play a significant role in the development of specific cities including Nagpur, Chandigarh and Puducherry. The project of Bengaluru metro extension will also receive an additional investment of 200 million euros.
The additional secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development, Durga Shanker, reported that France was taking a keen interest in the development of 100 smart cities and project AMRUT by extending its partnership to India for the same. The central government has already begun working on the smart city project with the help of state governments and local bodies to increase the pace of completion.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France in April, India was promised an investment of 600 million euros for its Smart City project and other initiatives pertaining to sustainable development including renewable energy. Moreover, France also expressed its desire to develop tourism and heritage sites for the upcoming Indian smart cities.
FICCI president Jyotsna Suri in an interview with the Economic Times appreciated the involvement of urban local bodies in urban centres for the development of a smart city. She said, “This bottom up approach is an extremely progressive step which will positively help in proper planning and development of the cities. The Indian private sector also has a significant role to play in development of smart cities and industry seeks the government’s support to facilitate and encourage the private sector for contributing towards this initiative.”
The urban population of the country is growing at a fast pace and it is expected that by 2050, around 50 per cent of India’s population would be living in urban areas only. This makes the rapid completion of the smart city project important and the assistance pouring in from overseas countries is providing impetus to the scheme.