Urban Development Minister M.Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday inaugurated the 4th Smart City Expo World Congress at Barcelona, Spain. Shri Naidu was invited as chief guest for the event by the Mayor of Barcelona, a city which is considered as the model smart city in the world.
Shri Naidu is leading a 35-member Indian delegation to the Smart City Congress comprising of the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Shri Sukhbir Singh Badal, other elected representatives, senior officials from states, urban planners and experts and academicians.
In his inaugural address, Shri Venkaiah Naidu said that Indias efforts towards building 100 smart cities are aimed at addressing the concerns about energy and water consumption, inclusive and sustainable urbanization, climate change and urban governance. He said that building smart cities, ensuring basic infrastructure in 500 cities and towns, development of heritage cities and providing houses for all the urban poor are daunting tasks but the government led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is committed to convert the challenges of growing urbanization into an opportunity, since urbanization is a proven engine of economic growth.
Shri Venkaiah Naidu informed the participants that the Indian governments initiatives in urban sector offer an investment opportunity of about US $ 140 billion over the next 20 years i.e @ Rs.42,000 cr per year. Informing that Indias urban development model is primarily based on large scale domestic and foreign private investments, Shri Naidu said, the government has recently liberalized FDI norms in real estate and construction sector. Stating that several initiatives are being taken to improve the ease of doing business in India, he invited the participating countries and corporates to take advantage of investment opportunities in Indias urban development sector.
Shri Venkaiah Naidu also lauded Barcelona for adopting smart city practices to emerge as a model city in the world. India, he added, would like to gain from the experiences of planning and execution of smart city practices of Barcelona. Complimenting the heritage conservation measures undertaken by Barcelona and other Spanish cities, Shri Naidu said that India is also venturing to conserve and augment heritage in different cities.
His address giving details of urban challenges and opportunities in the context of India and initiatives being taken by the government led by Shri Narendra Modi to spur economic growth was met with standing ovation from the participants.
Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Antoni Vives, in his address, said with Narendra Modi taking over as the Prime Minister, the global perception about India has quickly turned for better and this goes to prove what a determined and visionary leadership could do for any country.
Source: Press Information Bureau
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