Pratap Padode, founder of the consulting firm â€˜Smart Cities Council‘ in India believes the selection of the cities said the selection process was most transparent and it was a credible exercise.
Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu announced the first list of 20 cities today that will be developed to have basic infrastructure. Assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management systems, efficient urban mobility and public transportation, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation are some of the highlights of the initiative.
Pratap Padode, founder of the consulting firm ‘Smart Cities Council’ in India in an interview to CNBC-TV18 while anlaysing the rationale behind the selection of the cities said the selection process was most transparent and it was a credible exercise, adding that this shows commitment of the government towards developing smart cities.
According to him this provides and excellent opportunity for the IT sector and technology providers.
Below is the transcript of Pratap Padode's interview with CNBC-TV18's Shereen Bhan.
Q: Let me start by asking you, what you make of the governments list of 20 smart cities the first cut that has now been unveiled and are you satisfied with the criteria that the government has chosen to arrive at this list because that is being questioned today?
A: Although the minister did mention there would be a lot of surprises, I would say that except for the fact that some states actually had no winners at all and probably rightly so given the fact that they must have put in the application which did not matchup to the requirements.
The rest of the cities which have been selected seem to be the ones that were promising in any case. I think the whole manner in which the government has gone about in terms of the selection process, with transparency, with timelines, I think it is quite a satisfying and credible exercise that has been carried out and it shows the commitment of the government for the smart cities mission.
Q: So, you refute the charge that the opposition is making that the selective selection has been applied by the government. You have said that there is no big surprise in this 20 list that the government has arrived at, what about Bhubaneswar actually coming in right on top of that list?
A: Every city has an economic rationale and when you realise the economic rationale, so in case of Bhubaneswar if it is tourism and heritage part of the whole city and they have evolved their plans accordingly in trying to build up the tourism population or facilitating tourism and the citizens of the city and thereby growing the total economic economy of that city then I think the whole alignment is proper and it must have scored much more due to this alignment.
Q: So, what are you picking up from various stakeholders, the private participants who are likely to sort of be party to the smart city mission whether it is tech, IT or infrastructure players. What is the sense that you get from them on being able to contribute or participate in this process?
A: Extremely enthusiastic. I find a lot of the IT sector, technology solution providers both Indian and international, they are trying to get into the whole base of the opportunity, trying to make themselves completely connected with this opportunity and everybody believes that this opportunity is big, real big.