Will India’s Smart Cities Attract Foreign Investment?
Shorty after being elected, Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated plans to build 100 “smart cities” in India by 2022 in order to decongest urban centres. Over the past couple of months India has been pushing to be able to accommodate a booming urban population, and attract (foreign) investments. The first “smart city” is being built on the banks of the Sabarmati river in Gujarat.
What are smart cities?
Loosely-defined, a smart city is an initiative to build smarter cities by including the use of data and digital infrastructure to manage energy and water usage, as well as the creation of intelligent transport networks. It is also likely that India will focus on the lack of basic amenities and infrastructure such as housing, water supply, sanitation and electricity in already existing urban regions.
The smart-city initiative is therefore also focusing on getting existing cities to work in a more efficient way in order to be able to cope with the ever growing population. At least 50 of the 100 cities will be brownfield existing cities. One of these cities is Cyberabad where the objective is to turn large buildings into green, energy-efficient, and zero-waste units. The aim is also to get more people cycling to work and implementing a water conservation strategy.
The project is going to take a confluence of both public and private investment. And of course, Foreign Investment is welcomed by the country in order to fully complete the objective set forth. If the Indian government can develop a strong investor value proposition on a project-by-project basis, it is likely that many foreign investors will take interest in becoming a part of the “smart city” project.