The draft agreements were signed by Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) in the presence of French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chandigarh yesterday.
The agreement states that the AFD will provide technical and financial assistance to develop Puducherry, Chandigarh and Nagpur as smart cities.
Manoj Parida, chief secretary of Puducherry who present at the signing, stated: “The AFD agreement is independent of, but not completely unrelated to, the Smart City Mission of the Government of India for which Oulgaret Municipality is a contender.”
According to The Hindu, the AFD pact provides Puducherry with “fall back cushion” to assist in realising its smart city ambitions, should Oulgaret Municipality not make the shortlist of cities for development under Modi’s Smart City Mission.
Last year, Puducherry’s territorial government had submitted a proposal for the entire Puducherry city comprising Puducherry and Oulgaret Municipalities to be shortlisted under the initiative.
The signing in Chandigarh forms part of an Indo-French bilateral cooperation agreement on sustainable urban development established in October 2012.
During the Indian Prime Minsiter’s visit to France in April last year, it was agreed upon that French authorities would focus on the development of Puducherry, Nagpur and Chandigarh.
AFD technical assistance
Through the MoU, the AFD is providing 2 billion euros over the next three years in technical assistance. Puducherry will draw on public sector expertise from French municipalities, local public companies, agencies for urban planning, as well as input from the private sector.
Smart cities will benefit from expertise in urban planning, urban transport, water and waste management, architecture and heritage, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The MoU states: “In a larger context, the pool of experts could rotate like a roster between the three Indian cities to which French technical assistance will be provided,” the agreement states.”
The French development agency will also help with oversight of detailed project reports and feasibility studies and structuring of special purpose vehicles for financial management.
Part of the agreement also include hosting of meetings to track progress, redefine priorities and exchange visits by delegations of decision-makers on the smart city theme, as well as collaboration between the academics and research organisations.