India keen to tap Singapore’s expertise for Smart City Mission

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The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry is keen to tap Singapore’s expertise in the urban sector with a focus on the Smart City Mission and IT- enabled services, a senior official said. Keeping this in view, around 100 Indian town and country planners were recently trained by Singapore-based companies, a move aimed at giving momentum to the government’s flagship Smart City Mission, which has a major component of IT-enabled services, he said.

Under the Mission, 90 cities have been selected so far by the government and each city will get Rs 500 crore as central assistance for implementing projects. Reviewing the progress of the Smart City Mission, on August 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the challenge before everyone was now to ensure implementation and expeditious completion of the work in the 90 identified cities, with high quality.

The official said that the Singapore-based companies have evinced interest in urban projects in Assam, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. A consortium of these companies is working to develop Amravati, the new capital city of Andhra Pradesh, an official note, prepared in September, on India-Singapore relations, said.

Singapore is also working with the Rajasthan government in preparing the concept plans for townships in Udaipur and Jodhpur, and with Himachal Pradesh to develop an integrated township of Greater Shimla, it said. There is also cooperation in capacity building in urban planning sector, the note said.

According to the official, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri is keen to extend the partnership between the two nations to other cities as well. During his recent bilateral meeting with Singapore Trade and Industry Minister S Iswaran, Puri conveyed satisfaction on completion of training of 100 Indian town and country planners, the official said.

In the meeting, Puri also mentioned about the NITI Aayog sponsored training of metropolitan and city administrators in Singapore and hoped that there would be positive outcomes from such mentoring, he said.

“Singapore is an important partner in India’s development priorities. Equally, India is an enormous opportunity for an outward looking Singapore, including in areas that are key elements of Singapore’s future strategy, such as a digital economy,” the official, quoted Puri as saying during the meeting.

IT-enabled services, where Singapore expertise could be tapped, is one of highlights of the Smart City Mission, he said. The official said that the digital command and control centres would be set up in some of the cities which will help monitor traffic movement and check violations of red light through censors.

The centres will also monitor noise pollution, garbage collection and transportation, and filling and emptying of garbage collection bins, he said. During a ministerial visit to Singapore in August 2014, India had also agreed on enhance cooperation in smart cities and urban rejuvenation, among others, the official said.

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