The French Development Agency (AFD) has announced it will provide more than €2 billion in loans toward the Indian smart cities programme over the next three years.
The development of India’s smart cities is a top priority for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has launched several schemes under the Government’s Smart Cities Mission.
The initiative aims to revamp India’s urban cities to cater for the increasing population and create a more sustainable living environment for their citizens.
According to ESRI India, the vision of the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) is “to facilitate creation of economically vibrant, inclusive, efficient and sustainable urban habitats”.
It endeavours to “promote cities as engines of economic growth through improvement in the quality of urban life by facilitating creation of quality urban infrastructure, with assured service levels and efficient governance”.
French Ambassador to India Francois Richier said that France will extend its support toward the development of smart cities and sustainable development.
“It is our priority to support green and inclusive growth in India,” said Mr Richier.
The funds will be focused on three Indian cities including Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry together with €200 million allocated for the extension of the Bangalore metro.
Richier concluded by saying: “Our priority is also to create energy efficiency in municipal street lighting with Energy Efficiency Service at (an outlay of)€50 million.”
UK invests in Indian smart cities
India’s smart cities drive has caught the attention of the UK government.
Last month, Lord Francis Maude of Horsham, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, launched a report bringing together best smart city practices in the UK, with a view to understand where it can best support India.
The report was commissioned by the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to explore possible opportunities for UK and Indian companies.
Presenting the UKTI report to Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman, Lord Maude said: “As India embarks on its ambition to build 100 smart cities, the UK hopes to be an invaluable partner.
“We take this opportunity very seriously and this report by UKTI scopes the opportunities where Britain can best support India’s aspirations.”