Smart cities project focus on GujaratThe US Department of Transportation has revealed that it will provide transport facilities, which can be operated on a sustainable basis for the Smart Cities project. These facilities will be offered for Allahabad, Vizag and Ajmer. Incidentally, the government of US has also committed itself to help in making the above mentioned cities Smart Cities as well. Anthony Foxx, the Secretary of Transportation, had a meeting with M Venkaiah Naidu on 9 April and was accompanied by a delegation team comprising nine members. The meeting between the two dignitaries focussed on the cooperation that could be extended in matters related to transport and several other sectors.

Sustainable Transport Solutions from the US

One of the major points of discussion was a transport system that could always function with complete efficiency. Intelligent systems were discussed as well as multimodal integration and traffic control & information. They also touched upon ways to build a proper system of transportation in urban areas and then train people to keep it running. A number of task forces have, meanwhile, been established. Their primary responsibility is to get Allahabad, Vizag and Ajmer up to speed for which, United States Trade Development Agency will throw its weight. The Urban Development Minister of India has further pointed out that the US Department of Transportation could collaborate with teams based in various cities with the objective of fostering transport solutions that can be operated for a considerable period of time.

Arun Jaitley Looks at GIFT City Model for Smart Cities Project

The Union Finance Minister feels that the model used for building the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) at Gandhinagar is nothing less than a miraculous one and could be duplicated in the Smart Cities programme as well. To start with, the project had been created with the aim of developing the financial services sector in Gujarat. It was Narendra Modi who thought of the same and also played a part in its promotion. Arun Jaitley recently brought out the guidelines and regulations for the first ever International Financial Services Centre (IFSC). The IFSC will be located within the special economic zone of the said city.

Jaitley has described the GIFT City as a futuristic idea in the making. He has also stated that this will show how a city can be upgraded into a smart city with negligible core financing. The said project, which has infrastructural facilities that can be compared with almost anywhere in the world, has been developed on a wasteland and covers an area of 886 acres. The city is supposed to be built in three phases at an aggregate expense of INR 82,000 crore and the first stage is underway. It is being developed as India’s answer to major business centres such as the following:

  1. Dubai
  2. Paris (La Defense)
  3. Tokyo (Shinjuku)
  4. London
  5. Shanghai

He has praised the project for being built in such a way that the investors get their money’s worth in a short span of time. Jaitley has pointed out that the investment made in the initial structure could be recovered later on with development charges. The Finance Minister observed that many such cities can be created without putting any pressure on the government’s finances and it could provide substantial returns to the Indian and concerned state governments in future. Jaitley, however, sounded a note of caution stating that the system of taxation in the IFSC needs to be comparable to global standards.

He has also suggested that the tax regime needs to be non-adversarial in nature, emphasising the need to keep up with other IFSCs across the world in order to stay relevant.

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