Smart Cities asked to pose projects for loan support from World Bank, ADB and BRICS Bank
Ministry of Urban Development has urged the 20 Smart Cities selected in the first round of competition to quickly firm up bankable projects for obtaining loan assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank and the BRICS Development Bank. This was conveyed by Rajiv Gauba, Secretary (Urban Development) during a four hour long review meeting with the officials of 8 Smart Cities here today. Gauba discussed progress regarding conversion in to specific projects of Smart City Plans of Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Udaipur, Jaipur, Ludhiana and Jabalpur.
It was informed to the cities that the ADB has in principle agreed to extend a loan of US $ 1 Billion while the World Bank is willing to extend a loan of US $ 0.50 billion for the implementation of Smart City Mission. BRICS Development Bank is keen to support smart city projects.
Gauba while stressing the importance of mobilization of resources through Municipal Bonds issue, urged the cities to act quick to obtain credit ratings from agencies approved by the SEBI. He said that process for credit rating of 85 cities has already been initiated under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and all the 500 Mission cities shall complete this process in the next one year. During the discussion on resource mobilization through Municipal Bonds, it was informed that the US Treasury has expressed willingness to be the Transaction Advisor for such an issue by Pune Municipality which enjoys credit rating of ‘AA Stable’.
Further to suggestions from the cities, Gauba asked concerned senior officials of the Ministry to prepare a Policy Paper including the framework for conversion of three wheeler rickshaws into e-rickshaws to be run on electricity, in consultation with concerned agencies. This followed Ludhiana’s Smart City Plan of converting 30,000 rickshaws in the city into e-rickshaws and keenness of other cities to do so.
Welcoming the large citizen participation in the preparation of Smart City Plans of 97 mission cities, Gauba suggested effective branding of Smart City Mission during the implementation phase through appropriate means for promoting wider public interest in the ongoing efforts towards urban transformation across the country.
Gauba held detailed discussions city-wise in respect of preparation of projects and readiness to launch the same on the occasion of the first year of launch of Smart City Mission on June 25 last year, convergence of various schemes of the central and state governments, adoption of PPP model etc. He urged the cities to ensure installation of solar energy panels to the maximum extent possible.
The eight cities that participated in today’s review meeting furnished details of the projects that could be launched by June this year. These include; Affordable housing projects, 24 X 7 water supply projects, Sewage Treatment Plants, transport projects, smart street lighting, roof top mounted solar paneling, Solid Waste Management and waste water recycling projects and technology based Pan-city projects like Intelligent Transport Solutions, e-governance, provision of wifi services, Common Payment Cards, RFID based tags for individual household dustbins etc.