By Accommodation Times News Services
The World Bank is planning to provide some initial funding for India’s smart cities programme and the Amrut initiative for urban revitalisation. “The World Bank is in discussions with the (India) government to provide some funding in the initial stages for the smart cities and Amrut programmes,” the bank’s country director Onno Ruhl told reporters here on Thursday. Amrut is an acronym of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.
Ruhl was speaking at the launch of a World Bank report on urbanisation, titled “Leveraging Urbanisation in South Asia: Managing Spatial Transformation for Prosperity and Livability”, released by visiting World Bank managing director and chief operations officer Sri Mulyani Indrawati.
“India’s urbanisation drive will be the biggest of its kind in the next 30 years. The government’s implementation of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations will help in devolving finances to states for the programme,” Ruhl said.
The report says South Asia’s urban population grew by 130 million between 2000-11, and is poised to rise by almost 250 million by 2030.
“Cities in South Asia are not fulfilling their potential or transforming their economies, putting enormous demands on their infrastructure, as in Mumbai which I just visited,” Indrawati said.
“The World Bank can help by citing examples of cities dealing successfully with various issues, to provide clarity and accountability,” she added.
The report says policymakers must address three “fundamental urban governance deficits” by way of empowerment of urban governments, providing them adequate resources and strengthening mechanisms to hold them accountable.
As per government estimates, as much as Rs.400,000 crore will be invested in smart cities initiative, mainly through the private sector and loans from multilateral institutions and other agencies.
The World Bank and other agencies like the ADB and the Japan International Cooperation Agency will also provide technical assistance to the cities in preparation for their smart city plans.