Pratap Padode, Founder Director, Smart Cities Council India, says that the Union cabinet’s green signal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Smart Cities project is one big move which could catapult India into a smart nation by invigorating urban renewal for its 30 per cent population and create engines of growth which would fuel the survival of the remaining 70 per cent spread across over 500,000 hamlets and villages. Padode was the architect of the “Promising Cities Report” which cited 20 top promising cities at the 2nd Smart Cities Summit in February 2015 in Delhi.
With just 0.70 per cent of the GDP being spent on urban renewal, the return on investment (ROI) in the form of contribution is most compelling at 70 per cent of GDP. Planning and building cities itself is a high ROI proposition. So if they were built to be ‘smart’ the quotient of sustainability too would become greater causing the proposition to be even more attractive.
As per the Budget’s move towards stronger federal cooperation, a higher devolution of 42 per cent is expected to increase the states’ share from US$ 55.6 billion in year 2014-15 to about US$ 87 billion in 2015-16, a quantum jump, which would enable them to address their specific needs through flexibility in design, implementation and financing of programmes and schemes. This would allow the states to have better financial ability in fulfilling the needs of their cities.
Smart Cities Council is world’s premier consortium of smart city practitioners and experts, with more than 100 members and advisor organizations operating in more than 140 countries employing above1.4 million people generating, $2.5 trillion in annual revenues that have worked on over 5,000 smart city projects. With members which include major industrials like ABB, Alstom, General Electric, Schneider Electric, Siemens or global technology leaders like Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle or telecommunications leaders like Qualcomm, Ooredoo Qatar, Saudi Telecom Company or leading construction and engineering firms like Bechtel, Black & Veatch, CH2M Hill and more, the smart cities space will now have one point of reference: Smart Cities Council India.