Smart Cities Key To India’s Future: US Ambassador
Smart cities are integral to the growth of India’s future growth, said U.S Ambassador to India Richard Verma at a recent event held in New Delhi. Verma, often called the ‘Most Influential Indian American Congressional aide’ and the firstIndian American for his position also said at theAmcham 23rd AGM at New Delhi that the country’s digital growth will help spur collaboration between both the countries.
He estimated that India will need infrastructure improvements of an estimated $ 1.5 – 2 trillion over the next 10-15 years as its population is likely to hit 1.8 billion by 2050 - and this will require massive push to build robust infrastructures including creation of smart cities. This will also require active collaboration of all.
“It will take public and private initiative and cooperation to meet the needs of our future cities and their residents,” he said.
Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce said Indian government was committed to creating a predictable, transparent and enabling policy regime to ensure ease of doing business in the country.
“As we get onto the trajectory of high urbanisation, we have to work with some of the finest American companies to use their technologies and solutions to drive India’s urbanisation story,” he added.
According to Verma, “American companies are adept at applying solutions around the globe and scaling them to fit context and scope, meaning the possibilities are nearly endless for US and Indian companies willing to innovate and create.”
A host of corporate leaders also reiterated their commitment to help India scale up her infrastructure facilities to give the required push to the ‘Make in India’ mission of PM Narendra Modi.
Terming smart infrastructure for Digital India as one of critical imperatives for sustainable growth, Venkatesh Kini, Coca-Cola India Pvt Ltd, President, India and South West Asia said, “It is important to have Smart Infrastructure that fuses both physical and digital infrastructure. This smart infrastructure for Digital India should help enhance the quality of life for people and provide a clean environment.”
An Infrastructure & Energy Capability Deck prepared by Amcham and US-India Energy Cooperation Program was also released. “The Deck will function as a rich resource of competitive and cutting edge technologies of US expertise, products, services, know-how and solutions in fields of infrastructure, energy and smart city domains.
Read more: Smart Cities: Benefits And Challenges
“As a follow up of US President and Indian Prime Minister meeting in US last year where it was decided to establish an Infrastructure Collaboration Platform, we wish to ensure US companies participation in a strategic and structured way,” said John McCaslin, Minister Counsellor for Commercial Affairs, US Embassy.
India is expected to spend a trillion dollars through 2017 for infrastructure development in the country. While policy initiatives are key, it is equally important to put in place a sound technical infrastructure for information exchange across the infrastructure sectors of smart cities, airports, ports, roads and highways, railways, dedicated freight corridors, water/sanitation, safety and security.
Banmali Agrawala, President & CEO, South Asia, General Electric India Industrial Pvt Ltd believes it is better to focus on smart solutions for cities rather than smart city solutions. “We need a unified decision making structure in place for this,” he said.
Varun Khanna, MD, Becton Dickinson India, stressed on the importance of enabling technologies to provide smart healthcare solutions such as digital health records and remote monitoring of labs, while Kaku Nakhate, president and country head (India), Bank of America, said that financing is a key infrastructure link and can change the presentation once everyone chips in or wants anything more covered on financing.
The US private sector through Amcham and ECP is working closely with the US Foreign Commercial Services (FCS), US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and several financial institutions towards this. This effort seeks to bring industry and government closer to sharing information relating to upcoming project opportunities both at the central and state government levels.
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