The central government's ambitious plan to develop 100 smart cities got a fillip on Monday with former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's charitable organisation Bloomberg Philanthropies entering into a partnership with the Union urban development (UD) ministry to assist in the initiative.
A formal announcement was made soon after Bloomberg met PM Narendra Modi. "Under the partnership, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide assistance to the UD ministry to select cities for Smart Cities Mission funding on a continuous basis," a PMO release stated.
HT was the first to report that Bloomberg's organisation was set to assist the government in selecting 100 smart cities by organizing a "city challenge competition."
As part of the competition, cities will be given scores based on urban reforms they have carried out in key areas including sanitation and good governance. Cities that score the highest will be picked for the smart cities project that will be implemented over a 10-year period.
Bloomberg, who is also the UN Secretary General's special envoy for cities & climate change, took a ride on a CNG autorickshaw from the Taj Mahal hotel in Delhi to the Ashok Hotel where he delivered a speech at a renewable energy investment meet. "The more India invests in sustainable cities, the stronger its economy will grow… PM Modi is showing that confronting climate change goes hand-in-hand with smart economic growth," he said.
He also met Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu. Bloomberg will visit Mumbai on Tuesday.