‘India’s smart cities aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals’

New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) With the announcement of 98 aspirants for India’s smart cities and the government incorporating sustainability as a key component of the project, global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) feels “the pillars of a smart sustainable city” are completely aligned with the proposed UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs, that will define the global sustainable development agenda post-2015, are a proposed set of global development targets to be adopted by governments around the world.

“The closer the integration of sustainability into India’s ‘100 Smart Cities’ initiative, the greater will be the linkages with the SDGs,” PwC said in a report titled “Making cities smart and sustainable”.

“The pillars of a smart sustainable city are also directly or indirectly aligned with the objectives of the SDGs,” the report said.

Under the government’s 100 smart cities programme, each selected city will receive central assistance of Rs.100 crore annually for five years, driving economic growth.

Citing good governance, planning and financing as among the key institutional factors for realising sustainable cities, the report said “responsibility and accountability are integral towards making our community more sustainable.”

“Good governance serves as a powerful inspiration for promoting reforms in policies and programmes for sustainable development,” PwC said.

“These include open and transparent opportunities for the poor and underprivileged to access information and secure their rights over land, forest and energy resources,” the report added.

According to an estimate, by 2050, the population in Indian cities will touch 843 million.

The report said the “government’s smart city initiative has specified several possible
funding sources- both conventional as well as innovative, in order to meet the Rs.7.5 trillion amount required over 20 years”.

“Besides central and state funding, the list includes possible funding from multilateral and bilateral development agencies, pooled municipal debt obligation facilities, municipal bonds, real estate investment trusts and infrastructure investment trusts.”

The report was prepared for presentation at the Smart City Landscape 2015 international exhibition and conference held here earlier this month.

Participating companies included Hewlett-Packard, Wipro, CISCO, Schneider Electric, Lavasa, Barco, Berger Paints India, L&T Construction, Volvo, Skipper Ltd, Royal Appliances, the Newgen Group, among others.

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