US may sign pact to build smart cities in Allahabad, Ajmer & Vishakhapatnam
20 Jan, 2015, 0706 hrs IST, Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau
India, US had decided to build smart cities in these 3 states with American assistance when PM Narendra Modi had visited Washington last September.
NEW DELHI: India and USA are expected to sign a landmark agreement to build three smart cities in Allahabad, Ajmer and Vishakhapatnam during President Barack Obama’s visit later this week as part of an initiative to boost bilateral cooperation, and take concrete steps towards US participation in India’s infrastructure sector.
The two sides had decided in principle to build smart cities in these three states with American assistance when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Washington last September. Last week’s Vibrant Gujarat Summit saw this pledge being renewed, and the two countries would sign an agreement to this effect in Delhi later this week, official sources indicated. The two sides have been fine-tuning the elements of the cooperation in the area of smart cities during the past three months, sources informed.
As part of setting up smart cities, top American business houses have formed a consortium to assist the smart city projects. Cisco, IBM, 3M, EMC, GE, Honeywell, KPMG, Otis, Timken and Louis Berger are part of this consortium.
A US-India Infrastructure Collaboration Platform was set up during Modi’s visit to the US. The platform is supported by the US department of commerce, ministry of finance and the American Chamber of Commerce in India (Amcham).
“The consortium has been set up to collectively look at business opportunities in various sectors including smart cities and aims at identifying and bidding for projects across the country. Large projects require strong Indian partners along with financing solutions to realistically move forward,” said Amcham executive director Ajay Singha. “The consortium will jointly interface with governments at the state and central levels and operate as a cohesive group offering multiple solutions to suit a diverse bunch of re requirements,” he said in a statement.
US government officials have held meetings with the state governments in three states for building smart cities, sources informed. An inter-ministerial committee for US investments in India set up by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is expediting prospective US investments in India and how to speed them up by looking into some of the US concerns on tax, land acquisition and rules and regulations.
The inter-ministerial committee has already met twice to discuss prospective areas of US investments, including infrastructure, to achieve concrete results during the Obama trip, sources said.
The Modi government plans to develop 100 smart cities and had proposed an allocation of Rs 7,060 crore in the last Union Budget. As part of the effort, Japan and Singapore have already taken a lead when they joined hands with the Andhra Pradesh government to build capital which will be a mega smart city.