The minister was addressing a seminar on ‘Smart City Development Opportunities and Support Towards Infrastructure Development US Government and Private Players’.
Union minister for information and broadcasting and urban development M Venkaiah Naidu said that people should be involved in planning smart cities and there cannot be a uniform plan for all cities, as every city has its own needs.
Naidu was addressing a seminar on ‘Smart City Development Opportunities and Support Towards Infrastructure Development US Government and Private Players’ organised by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) in Jaipur on Tuesday.
Naidu said Indore city gave a presentation — Indore Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow — and six lakh people (out of the city’s 70 lakh population) gave suggestions for making Indore a smart city. “Jaipur and Ajmer should also replicate what Indore has done,” he added.
He said 54.5% of the world is living in urban areas on 2% land and it will increase to 60% in the future. The urban population is consuming 60% of the energy and producing 70% emission in the form of garbage and waste. In India, 32-33% of the population lives in urban areas, which will reach 40% in coming times, but the GDP from urban areas is 65%. The reasons people are relocating to urban areas are education, employment, entertainment and enhanced health facilities.
“Local bodies have to be strengthened to develop livable cities. Funds, function and functionaries have to be transferred to local bodies, only then will they function,” he added.
Naidu said the US is one of the pioneers who has partnered in the flagship programme to create smart cities in India. “The US, through the US Trade Development Agency (USTDA) has partnered with three cities — Vizag, Ajmer and Allahabad — to provide support for the development of smart cities.
“Urbanisation brings a host of environmental and humanitarian challenges, from pollution to lack of civic amenities like drinking water, sewage and electricity. However, urbanisation may also mean big opportunities for business. As cities grow, they become centres of innovation and excellence,” he said.
“Cities need to be smart to address the challenges of increasing urbanisation through improved service delivery, enhanced efficiency, improved transparency and accountability, added the Union minister.
He said that focus should be on developing pedestrian path, public transport and cycling tracks, as private vehicles will become a huge problem resulting in congestion.
Prior to this, IACC national president NK Srinivasan delivered the welcome address and IACC Jaipur office chairman Sanjiv Bali gave a vote of thanks. Apart from Naidu, state UDH minister Shrichand Kriplani and Jaipur mayor Ashok Lahoti were also present.
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