Ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg on February 16 met Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and discussed various urban development issues including the 'Smart City' project.
Naidu and Bloomberg, a former New York Mayor, also exchanged notes on various issues.
Naidu gave a broad account of various initiatives being undertaken by the government in the urban sector, while the UN Envoy noted that media particularly social media is bringing a new kind of pressure on banks and other lending institutions not to support any scheme which do not address environmental concerns.
According to a senior UD Ministry official, they took note of the fact that while in India the central government is more pro-active in urban sector, it is the other way round in the US where city and state governments are more active than federal government.
Bloomberg said people in urban areas want quick results. Naidu and Bloomberg referred to the collaboration between the Urban Development Department and Bloomberg Philanthropies in selection of 'Smart City' applicants who can rise up to the challenges of resource mobilisation with special abilities to carry out urban reforms.
Bloomberg Philanthropies has earlier agreed to assist the Ministry in organising a 'city challenge competition' where cities will be given scores based on urban reforms they have carried out, their impact and what they propose to do in four key areas - 'swachh bharat' (sanitation), 'Make in India' (ease of doing business), 'good governance' (modern accounting system, rationalisation of property taxes) and e-governance.
Cities that score the highest will be picked for the 'Smart City' project, the official said.
Source: Economic Times
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