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India and USA Relationship on Smart Cities, Comment

Urban areas, the place where growth is faster than rural areas in one's country, the places which contribute higher share of GDP. The migration of rural and semi-urban population is increasing day by day. As urbanization is increasing, the concept of "Smart-Cities" came into existence as part of search solutions of increasing population and to fulfill the need of every citizen living in urban areas.

"Smart cities", this is the one of the major topic that is frequently discussing in many countries today. Smartness in a city means different things to different people. It could be smart design, housing, technology, utilities etc., It is quite difficult to give exact meaning of smart city as it has number of definitions that are not always consistent. According to smart cities council, the city with all its important activities and transactions by using digital technology is called smart city. According to Indian Govt., 2014, Smart city is a place offers sustainability in economic activities and provides wide range of employment opportunities.

At first in 2008, IBM corporation has started IBM Smarter Cities to focus on development of urban areas by creating smart cites. Since 2009, several countries including South Korea, UAE and China made huge investments in development of smart cities. Recently India is also showing keen interest to develop smart cities. According to 2011 census about 42.6% and 45.2% population of Gujarat and Maharashtra are urban dwellers. In south India, the undivided Andhra Pradesh has more than 35% of population living in urban areas. States like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka was trend to growing. Including Metros like Delhi and Mumbai have received huge number of migrant people from different parts of country. Between 1991 and 2011 about 7 million farmers have left agriculture. This continuous migration made huge problems in development of urban areas. At this point of view; NDA Govt in 2014 brought the concept of smart cities. It decided to develop 100 smart cities throughout the country by 2020. In 2014-2015 Budget, the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitely released Rs. 7,060/- crore for this project. Countries like Japan, United States and Singapore showed interest in participating in the development of 100 smart cities. It is estimated that Greater Noida will alone attract investment worth Rs. 30,000 crore. According to an estimate if Kochi becomes a smart city, Kerala will emerge as IT hub and about 1 Lakh jobs will be created. This will develop other sectors too.

During the visit of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi to United States Mr. Barack Obama the president of US offered assistance in development of Smart Cities. Mr. Obama's visit to India on the eve of Republic day they have promised to support development of three Smart Cities. Hence, India and US signed three Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs).The US agreed to partner with India in developing three smart cities which are Ajmer, Allahabad and Visakhapatnam. Ajmer, the 5th largest City in Rajasthan and has larger Muslim population, Allahabad situated in Northern India state of Uttar Pradesh which is Hindu Pilgrimage centre and Visakhapatnam nicknamed as Vizag also called as "The Jewel of the East Coast" in state of Andhra Pradesh which is recently effected by cyclone HudHud. Three MoUs are signed by the representatives of US Trade and Development Agency and respective chief Secretaries of State Governments of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan in the presence of Union Urban Development Minister Mr. M.Venkaiah Naidu. State Governments will their part provide resources like technical information and data related to Smart Cities planning and budgetary sources. The Union Urban Development Minister has also set up city wise task forces having representatives for state and central governments and US Trade Development Agency. Mr. Venkaiah Naidu also declared that Smart Cities will be developed in PPP model which incorporate measures such as LED lightning, Rain water Harvesting, Solid Waste Management, Green buildings, Metro rails etc. If these are going to happen perfectly India is going to have a good growth in economy and technology also. It is most useful for future generations.

Finally, I conclude Smart Cities are said to be "New address of Urban India". The idea of Smart Cities development with advanced infrastructure is highly appreciated. We hope our government will work selflessly to reach this goal and make our India having one of the best smarter cities in the world.

Padma Bandaru