A few days after Qatar expressed its willingness to be a part of the Smart Cities project, the emirate of Dubai has now come forward and stated that it would like to develop Hyderabad as a smart city. KT Rama Rao, Minister of Information Technology, Telangana Government, recently visited Dubai Smart City and got in touch with investors in an effort to bring in investments to the Capital of Telangana. The Minister was accompanied by a number of dignitaries such as K Pradeep Chandra, Special Chief Secretary (Industries), and Jayesh Ranjan, who serves the dual role of Commissioner of Industries and Managing Director of Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation.
The Dubai model
Some officials representing the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry were also part of the delegation. They had a session with Baju George, who operates as the Managing Director of Dubai Smart City, and Abdul Latif Al-Mulla, who is the Chief Executive Officer. During the meeting both the parties discussed the various aspects related to developing Hyderabad as a smart city in partnership with Smart City Dubai. This entire endeavour is going to be a part of the Information Technology and Investment Region project. In what can be deemed as a positive development, Mulla has demonstrated a willingness to visit Hyderabad to take the discussions ahead.
One of the standout features of Smart City Dubai is all-round development. Here one will find a remarkable coexistence of commercial and residential spaces along with IT offices. Here people are able to work and also have a commendable standard of life and all this is thanks to the technologies that have been implemented in the city. Malta has already used the model that has been used in Dubai with some degree of success.
The State Government in Kerala has also inked a partnership agreement with Smart City Dubai. The said project is supposed to be carried out in Kochi and is meant to cover an area of at least 250 acres. Over the coming eight years the ones behind Smart City Dubai will be pumping in INR 4,000 crore into this project. It can be said without a shadow of doubt that the Telangana officials will be looking for similar assistance from the Smart City Dubai authorities as well.
Smart Cities project and inadequate ICT budget
Experts are of the opinion that even though the Smart Cities project is an important one for the national Government it could still hit a major roadblock in the days ahead. The expenditure on information and communication technology by majority of the civic administrative entities across the country is rather frugal and this could pose problems for the prestigious project. When one considers the fact that efficient usage of ICT solutions is going to be the cornerstone of the project itself, the proportions that such a situation could assume becomes clear. It has been learnt that most of these administrative units do not expect that their IT budgets would increase by more than 10% in the next couple of years. There are only two bodies as of now that are looking for increases in excess of 50%.
It has been estimated that approximately 60% of the said civic bodies are making plans to add to their IT budgets within a range of 1 to 10% in the next two years and 6 months. Approximately 10% of these bodies would be looking to increase their IT budgets in excess of 50% in the period under consideration and 11% of these organizations will look to increase their IT budgets by 11-20% in the next two years or so. This information has been revealed in a report brought out by India Infrastructure Research.
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