Smart City's CITIIS prog strong platform for India, France to achieve their shared vision: Envoy
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New Delhi, Sep 27 (PTI) The CITIIS programme under the country's Smart Cities Mission provides a "strong platform" for both India and France to achieve their shared vision of a sustainable future and a more equal and just society through collaboration, French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler has said.
Under the CITIIS (Cities Investment To Innovate, Integrate and Sustain) challenge programme, cities are encouraged to propose projects in areas of sustainable mobility, urban e-governance and information and communications technology (ICT), public open spaces and social and organisational innovation for low-income settlements.
Ziegler was speaking here at a two-day preparatory workshop held for the 100 cities shortlisted to become the country's next Smart Cities.
The event, organised by the National Institute for Urban Affairs (NIUA) along with the French Development Agency (AFD), was held at the India Habitat Centre from September 25-26.
"The CITIIS programme provides a strong platform for both India and France to achieve their shared vision of a sustainable future and a more equal and just society through collaboration," Ziegler said.
"The competitive approach used, in line with the Smart Cities Mission strategy, will ensure the emergence of innovative and participatory projects answering the needs of the citizens," he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the French Embassy on Thursday.
The workshop was attended by over 200 participants from over 40 cities across India. Around 50 international and Indian experts were present to provide the cities with advice and guidance on preparing their proposals ahead of the deadline in October, the statement said.
The CITIIS programme will be implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and NIUA. It is financed by the AFD, the government of France, and the European Union (EU), it said.
"This is yet another concrete project building upon the India-EU Partnership for Smart and Sustainable Urbanisation, adopted by our leaders during the 2017 Summit," said Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union to India.
"The EU partnership with AFD paves the way for collaborative efforts promoting low-carbon and innovative city-level ideas. We are keen to support projects of excellence that build on the experiences of urban local bodies to achieve concrete and integrated urban results," he was quoted as saying in the statement.
Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs said, "With the CITIIS challenge and this program, India-France cooperation in the area of urban development has reached a new milestone. This will be acknowledged in India's transformation journey."
He said the CITIIS program focuses on four key areas of development of Smart Cities - development of public spaces, use of ICT and e-governance, sustainable mobility and social and organizational innovation in low-income settlements.
"The program is an important step in our efforts to create the new India of 2022 as envisioned by our Prime Minister," Mishra said.
Following this workshop, the cities' SPVs (Special Purpose Vehicles) will be requested to submit their project applications on the SmartNet portal in October. Thereafter, an independent jury composed of members of the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry and NIUA, international and national experts will thoroughly assess all project applications, the statement said.
When the Smart Cities Mission was launched in 2015, a competitive, challenge process was used to select the 100 smart cities.
Now, the challenge process is being applied to project implementation, in line with the NITI Aayog guideline where under the Indo-French partnership programme, at least 15 projects would be selected through the all-India challenge. PTI KND SNE SNE
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