Bloomberg trust to partner India's smart city initiative

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg on Monday announced a partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and India's ministry of urban development to advance the `smart cities initiative'."

Under the partnership, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide assistance to the urban development ministry to select cities for smart cities mission funding on a continuous basis.

Delivering the special address at the RE-INVEST 2015 summit in the capital, Michael Bloomberg, UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, said, "From my experience, he (PM Modi) is absolutely correct to make cities a central focus of his work.".

"The more India invests in sustainable cities, the stronger its economy will grow," Bloomberg said, adding, "Prime Minister Modi is showing that confronting climate change goes hand-in-hand with smart economic growth."

Bloomberg urged both India's private sector and foreign investors to continue developing and investing in the clean energy market which create "knowledge-intensive jobs and support the nation's goals".

Bloomberg went on to add, "All of these steps are helping to position India as a crucial global leader in addressing climate change, as nations work toward an international climate agreement in Paris this December." Bloomberg is of the view that no other country faces an energy challenge or has seized the energy opportunity on nearly the same scale and scope, as India.

"By 2020, coal power will cost more than solar power. There may be no other country better than India to position itself as a solar energy producer," Bloomberg said. "Clean energy creates knowledge based jobs. India gets 70 per cent more solar radiation than EU," Bloomberg added.

The Bloomberg Philanthropies-urban development ministry partnership will follow a different approach from the conventional programmes, which involved preparation of detailed project reports, and their appraisal and approval by the central government. It will ensure that real citizen engagement happens, as people get involved both in design and execution of city development plans. This will actualise the idea of cooperative and competitive federalism, an official release said.

The prime minister described the smart cities Initiative as a challenging task, which nevertheless has to be undertaken to improve the quality of life for India's urban citizens with stakeholder`s participation.

The smart cities initiative is a historic effort to promote economic growth, improve governance, and deliver more effective and efficient public services to India`s urban residents, he said.