India exploring Smart Cities’ part funding by World Bank

New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) The World Bank is in talks with the Indian government to provide some initial funding for the latter’s smart cities programme and the Amrut initiative for urban revitalisation.

“The World Bank is in discussions with the (India) government to provide some funding in the initial stages for the smart cities and Amrut (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) programmes,” the bank’s country director Onno Ruhl told reporters here on Thursday.

He was speaking at the launch of a World Bank report on urbanisation, titled “Leveraging Urbanisation in South Asia: Managing Spatial Transformation for Prosperity and Livability”, released by visiting World Bank managing director and chief operations officer Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

“India’s urbanisation drive will be the biggest of its kind in the next 30 years. The government’s implementing of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations will help in devolving finances to states for the programme,” Ruhl said.

The report says South Asia’s urban population grew by 130 million between 2000-11, and is poised to rise by almost 250 million by 2030.

“Cities in South Asia are not fulfilling their potential for transforming their economies, putting enormous demands on their infrastructure, as in Mumbai which I just visited,” Indrawati said.

“The World Bank can help by citing examples of cities dealing successfully with various issues, to provide clarity and accountability,” she added.

The report says policymakers must address three “fundamental urban governance deficits” by way of empowerment of urban governments, providing them adequate resources and stregthening mechanisms to hold them accountable.

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