Indo-US roundtable unveils smart city plans for Ajmer
FICCI and US India Business Council (USIBC) jointly organised a smart city roundtable on May 29, 2015 in Ajmer, Rajasthan. This event was organized as a follow up after the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Rajasthan and United States Trade and Development Agency for the Smart City Cooperation Project for Ajmer. The roundtable aimed to unveil the Smart City development plans for Ajmer and to identify the business opportunities for the US and Indian companies.
Dr. Arbind Prasad, Director General, FICCI and Diane Farrell, Executive VP, USIBC, welcomed the distinguished speakers and audience for their participation in the event. Dr. Prasad said that FICCI had set up a Task Force on Smart Cities which comprised industry members from different areas such as urban infrastructure, ICT, energy, geospatial technologies, energy, homeland security, housing, manufacturing, infrastructure and academia. The objective of the Task Force was to look at various ways where industry could partner with the government in development of smart cities. Dr. Prasad said that FICCI would like to work with the Government of Rajasthan, USTDA and USIBC in the Ajmer smart city project.
Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, Minister for Urban Developments & Housing, Government of Rajasthan; Vasudev Devnani, Minister of State for Education, Government of Rajasthan; Anita Bhadel, Minister for Women & Child Development, Government of Rajasthan; Onkar Singh Lakhawat, Chairman, Heritage Conservation & Development Authority and senior state officials including Ashok Jain, Additional Chief Secretary (UD & Housing), Government of Rajasthan and Dharmendra Bhatnagar, Divisional Commissioner, Ajmer & Chairman, Ajmer Development Authority, were present on the occasion to provide an impetus to Ajmer smart city project and boost private participation.
Rajpal Singh Shekhawat focused on the need to revamp economic activities of the city while addressing the issues of sustainable development, human capitalisation and the muchneeded social equity. Vasudev Devnani emphasised the need to study the geographical criticality of the city to identify the issues that needed to be addressed for a successful execution of the smart city project. Anita Bhadel proposed to develop an effective marketing mechanism for the city that would elicit further development of the existing tourism industry. Onkar Singh Lakhawat highlighted the need to address the long standing water and waste water issues of the city that had led to chronic health issues amongst the city residents. Ashok Jain highlighted the need for developing industry corridors in and around Ajmer.
The session also saw deliberations on different modes for private participation in the Ajmer smart city project highlighting the need for conducive collaborations between Indian and US private sector companies.
The conclave witnessed substantial interests from major Indian as well as US based private sector companies operating in the fields of water & waste management, transportation, construction, tourism, ICT, electricity, healthcare, safety & surveillance amongst others. Senior officials from companies and multilateral agencies such as United Technologies Corporation, Worldwide Machineries Solutions, Viacom18 Media, L&T Construction, World Bank, International Finance Corporation, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Ernst & Young, AECOM, CH2MHill, Yes Bank, ICICI Bank and Mahindra World City Developers, were present during the event.
L to R: Vasudev Devnani, Minister of State for Education, Government of Rajasthan; Dharmendra Bhatnagar, Divisional Commissioner, Ajmer & Chairman, Ajmer Development Authority; Kamal Bakoliya, Mayor, Ajmer Nagar Nigam; Anita Bhadel, Minister for Women & Child Development, Government of Rajasthan; John McCaslin, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs, U.S. Embassy, New Delhi; Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, Minister for Urban Developments & Housing, Government of Rajasthan; Onkar Singh Lakhawat, Chairman, Heritage Conservation & Development Authority and Ashok Jain, Additional Chief Secretary (UD & Housing), Government of Rajasthan.