Even as the Government of India is preparing blueprint for all round development of cities, Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday asked global institutions to invest in the urban infrastructure and allied sectors offering huge opportunities.
Addressing a seminar on ‘Smart and Livable Cities: Opportunities and Challenges’ on the second day of the eighth biennial Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2017 he said India was changing under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and there has been great change in the people’s attitude towards development. The cities are undergoing facelift with footpath, cycle tracks, flyovers, BRTS, Metro s and other infrastructure, said Naidu while releasing a coffee table book on Flower Power prepared by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
The Union Minister said the change in the Government’s attitude has resulted in shift from ‘populism’ to ‘peopleism’ to cater to the needs of the people. The decision to create 100 ‘smart cities’ has come as a divine blessing on the earth, creating a healthy competition among the cities and States, he said, adding, “Ahmedabad ranked AA+ among the top cities. Gujarat is on way to become an ‘Economic Expressway’. Gujarat Model is now considered to be ‘Flavour of Country’. The work on 36-km long Ahmedabad Metro will be completed by 2018.”
The Union Minister described demonetisation as a grand oblation, likely to open doors of economic development in near future. He said the Central Government’s transparent and accountable government has helped construct 4.17-lakh toilets for girl students in educational institutions in the country. Nearly 1.30-crore people surrendered cooking gas subsidy following the appeal of the Prime Minister.
Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) on affordable housing and other projects for Ahmedbad, Surat, Bhavnagar and other cities worth Rs11,600-crore were signed during the seminar. Gujarat’s Minister of State for Urban Development Vallabhbhai Vaghasia said the percentage of people living in urban areas in India will increase from 31.8 per cent to 40 per cent by 2030. Gujarat is bracing up six Smart Cities to Centre’s choice, creating civic basic amenities, adopting PPP model.
Canada’s Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi said companies from his country would invest USD15 billion to help build roads, railways, airways, urban transport, sanitation waste management and environment. Denmark’s Energy Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt said that smart city concept was there in his country also which would be applied to maximum purpose in Indian cities too.
Meanwhile the 60-member French delegation, led by French Embassy Minister Counsellor Jean-Marc Fennet, looked forward to investing in energy, transportation, regional airways, energy from wastes and other sectors, to strengthen the Indo-French Agreement of 1998.
Speaking at the French Country Seminar Fennet said that truly vibrant and dynamic Gujarat offers great scope for investment as per the outlook of the representatives of industrial and business houses from France. They are keen to partner Gujarat in the latter’s economic development.
FICCI Gujarat State Council Chairperson Rajiv Vastupal said that FICCI has very strong relations. He exuded confidence that Gujarat’s business and industry friendly policies would facilitate investment and economic growth.