India invites German firms to invest in infrastructure sector
Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the partnership between the two countries “should and will flourish” as he invited participation of its business community in India’s “urban renaissance”.
“Indo-German partnership should and will flourish. You will be able to see for yourself the winds of change in India. We are very keen to develop the sectors where you are strong. We need your involvement,” Naidu said while addressing a conference on ‘100 Indian Smart Cities Conference’.
He said India is at the “threshold of rapid urbanisation” and is among the “fastest urbanising societies” of the world and is projected to be more urban than rural by 2050.
“With 17 per cent of people living in urban areas at the time of independence, urbanisation increased to over 31 per cent in 2011 and set to reach 40 per cent by 2030,” he said, adding that this demographic transition brings along with it “serious challenges and opportunities too”.
The High Powered Expert Committee of Indian Government in 2011 has estimated investment requirement for urban infrastructure over the 20-year period (2012-31) at over USD 650 billion and operation and maintenance (O&M) cost at over USD 330 billion.
The total urban infrastructure requirement works out to about USD 1 trillion over a 20-year period.
Naidu listed out various initiatives, including Smart City Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Swachh Bharat Mission for addressing the “huge” gaps in urban infrastructure.
Noting that Germany is already assisting in development of Bhubaneswar, Kochi and Coimbatore as smart cities, he said, “My visit is to explore more investment assistance for remaining Smart Cities.”
Highlighting the potential of various schemes, he said the investment in the proposed 100 smart cities works out to USD 40 billion by 2020, while the total outlay under AMRUT is USD 8 billion over five years for 500 cities and estimated cost of implementation of Clean India Mission in Urban areas is USD 10 billion.
He said government will also introduce Public Utility (Resolution of Disputes) Bill later this year for dispute resolution in infrastructure related construction projects, public private partnership (PPP) and public utility contracts, reported by PTI.
Stressing that an essential feature of “Urban Renaissance is ‘green’ development”, the minister said, “This we will learn from Germany’s leadership in environmental-friendly and sustainable urban development”.
Earlier, Naidu and German Minister of Nature Conservation, Forests, Building and Nuclear Safety, Barbara Hendrics, inaugurated the three-day conference.
Leading global companies, policy makers and experts are attending the meet being organised to highlight investment opportunities in India’s Smart City Mission.