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BW Businessworld

Smart And Sustainable Ideas For India

BW Businessworld holds its 'BW Smart Cities Conclave and Awards 2016' in New Delhi; experts say the onus is on the private players to take lead in Smart Cities Mission projects

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BW Businessworld organised its 'BW Smart Cities Conclave and Awards 2016' on Wednesday (21 December) at the Taj Palace hotel in New Delhi.

The event, attended by top business leaders, began with a session on "Smart Sustainable Ideas for India". The session was moderated by NSN Murthy, executive director and leader for Smart Cities at PwC. The panelists included Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman, Microsoft Corporation (India); R. Srinivasan, a vice president at Larsen and Toubro; and Rohit Sharma, chief communication officer, Hero Motors.

Murthy began the discussion with some recent updates from the government's Smart Cities Mission and talking about the action on the ground. It looked at the situation in the 60 cities in India preparing for ground projects and monetizable smart solutions. CEO of smart cities are also doing a lot of brainstorming the ideas that were not in their proposals, they are giving a free hand to all solutions under the sun.

Sooner than later, the biggest investments are going to be around four pillars - infrastructure, housing facilities, transportation and water resources. The ball has been put into motion but now the onus is on the private players to take the leap of faith.

Pramanik said, "We are excited to be a part of the AMRUT mission and I also feel the people and private partnership is one of the most an interesting aspects here. The key is also to think about the hyper-scaling and setting up an entire set of services, networks with a considerable investment, through continuous people's interaction. We want to make sure that people pay for only what they use. The feedback system in this 4th industrial revolution would bring out the best insights and data will be used in a better way to meet the change in any sort of areas in the smart cities."

"Secondly, we are trying to build a network of the local entrepreneurs to join hands in the big bang, through an accelerator programme. Our idea is to play highly on IoT innovation and get architectural investments."

Srinivasan of Larsen and Toubro said, "We are trying to build a Smart Cities control room for better communication networks, starting from Gujarat and Mumbai. Now, the next is Hyderabad and Nagpur, where we are interacting with the cities, laying down fibre optics, bin management and the basic infrastructure. These days, there is enough room for even digital to come into construction. And we are trying to reach out the youth through our skill training institute. My company is fully ready to take on to smart cities."

Rohit Sharma said, "The decade has been full of urban and rural development and movements but there are a lot of hindrances to mention. Having said that, many agendas and policies have been taken forward by the social icons, government and local bodies. Activities like Raahgiri are organised to build on the latent need for change. It is, however, difficult for people to realise the importance of cycles, which can have a great impact on the environment. But I am glad, though the change will take time but it has already started."

Murthy ended the conversation by asking the CEOs' jobs in the improvement of the smart cities ecosystem. The panelists highlighted many responsibilities like social program and campaigns, and multiple projects for the improvement of rural and urban areas.

They also said that companies are bringing in new technologies like IoT and AI to tap the smart cities ecosystem and also some of the government sectors like transportation, energy, healthcare, water and waste are also looking at integrating information and technology to make the lives of residents better. Farmers are more receptive to change, hence the village ecosystem is more likely to see a change and become smart villages before smart cities.