The Urban Development Minister of India Venkaiah Naidu has set up city-based task forces with a specific focus on Ajmer, Vishakhapatnam and Allahabad. The responsibility of these task forces would be to come up with proper plans so that these cities can be transformed to smart cities in the future. The task forces will be manned by representatives from the external affairs and the urban development ministries. The concerned state governments, the United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) and the cities in question will be represented in the body as well.
A few days back Naidu had met Penny Pritzker, the United States Secretary of Commerce, at New Delhi and a decision was taken during the said meeting to set up task forces for charting out a course for the smart cities. The task forces being constituted right now are in accordance with the said decision. On 25 January 2015 the USTDA had signed MOUs with the state governments of the concerned cities and assured its cooperation in turning them into smart cities. Similarly, when Narendra Modi visited the US and discussed commercial and strategic issues with Barack Obama, the US had expressed its willingness to help with the development of the aforementioned cities.
The task force for Ajmer is made up of the following entities:
- Divisional Commissioner, Ajmer (Chairman)
- Mayor of Ajmer
- Secretaries of Town and Country Planning and Municipal Affairs of Rajasthan Government
- Joint Secretary of Union Urban Development Ministry
- District Collector of Ajmer
- Representatives from Ministry of External Affairs, India
- Administrator of Urban Improvement Trust, Ajmer
- USTDA representatives
- Municipal Commissioner of Ajmer
IT Companies Looking To Work in Smart Cities Project Following Budget 2015
Under the normal circumstances, information technology enterprises in India are not exactly willing to work in contracts or projects operated by the government. However, after the union budget for 2015-16 fiscal, they are looking to be a part of the smart cities project.
The said budget has not allotted any big project for the IT companies and so they are hoping that the smart cities project, as well as the Digital India programme, shall be operated by the government through public-private partnership. There is a definite reason as to why these companies do not want to work with the government. It is estimated that the government is yet to pay these companies remuneration for the work they had done previously. It is estimated that the amount runs up to INR 5000 crore.
R Chandrashekhar, who is the President, National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), has said that certain aspects of these projects can be executed in association with privately-held entities. What is further beneficial for them is that they need not make all the investments, which reduces their risk exposure significantly. Chandrashekhar has further stated that in such a situation the IT companies could deal with the technological issues while the government could make the payments after various stages of production are achieved. It is expected that this will smoothen out matters to a significant extent for all the concerned parties.
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