The IMC Chamber of Commerce & Industry recently convened its first international conference on ‘Smart Cities - Reimagining Urban Spaces and Financing’ in Delhi.
Inaugurated by Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, the international speakers at the conference who gave examples of development in global cities included Stephen Yarwood, Ex-Mayor, City of Adelaide; Antony Vives, Ex Vice Mayor, City of Barcelona; Tim Jones; Lluis Gomez, International Director.
Speakers such as Atul Arya, Panasonic; R Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM; Vivek Soni, Partner, KPMG; C Kutumba Rao, Vice Chairman, AP State Planning Board; Rajiv Gauba, Secretary, MoUD; Sharmila Chavaly, Jt Secretary, DEA, Smart City World Expo; Dhruba Purkayastha, Head-Strategy and Business Development, IMaCS; and Ravi Kirpalani, Managing Director & CEO, Thyssenkrupp India; were present and spoke of the need to have sustainable and effective policies for implementation in the PPP mode.
According to Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, “The aviation sector plays a key role in steering India towards urbanisation and enhancing airports for increased passenger flow leading to global business development and employment opportunities in a multiplier effect. The aim is to complete planned projects in the stipulated period of time to avoid delays. With clear corporate governance, we can reassure investors to finance clean operating companies. Going forward, we aim to have more effective, innovative and transparent financing policies.”
The panelists deliberated on the key factors which would enable India to achieve tomorrow’s vision of reimagining urban spaces and financing by enhancing per cent is urbanised as compared to most countries who have a urban population of about 80 per cent. While we are in the process of developing the nation’s economy fueled with the government initiatives like urban mission for Smart Cities, Make in India, Digital India to name a few, the recent challenges faced by the country are pollution in terms of our health, lack of financial support from the government, rural rehabilitation are just a few to mention.
Welcoming the Chief Guest, Deepak Premnarayen, President, said, “It is crucial to think about what will happen to pollution in terms of quality of air, and many other reasons that are congesting and clogging people’s lives, so therefore this is a terrific opportunity coupled with the vision of our Prime Minister. However, today the issue is, almost 30 people per minute in India are moving to the urban areas and how do we address this. We need smart cities and to do that we need to have stability and predictability in policy as well as technology and funding. If you want to develop a smart city, the monies have to go back, not in terms of central funding, but they have to be generated by the city itself.” He further added, “Raising long term equity capital is a major and urgent requirement in urban infrastructure.” He opined that private capital needs to supplement as government has limited resources in financing.
The Ministry of Aviation and the Niti Aayog are making forays into the infrastructure development for all sectors especially rural and semi urban sectors. Today, India is a $2 trillion economy where airports play a major role, such as the major metro cities like IGI Delhi Airport, Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport Mumbai, and Kempegowda International Airport Bangaluru are key gateways to the country and outside. By 2020, India will become among the top destinations in the world. To put things in perspective, the Ministry of Aviation is enhancing mega urban clusters in the country. In addition, the main focus is on bringing all resources to secure the main agenda and achieving mass public mobility at affordable costs.
Smart Cities are the government’s aim to urbanise India and bring financial support to the rural populace of the country. What matters is how cities are governed and managed. And, going forward with the help of government initiatives, India will tap its potential and establish truly world-class smart cities.