Jaipur, Dec 9: India is developing at an unprecedented speed, aiming to become smart through its smart cities and Canada is keen to help India become smarter.
So this time the Canadian presence at Municipalika, 2015, being hosted at Jaipur and which kicked off today at Jaipur Exhibition and Convention Centre in Sitapura, is bigger and better, with at least 20 of its leading infrastructure companies participating at the conference.
Canada and India already has a robust trading relationship. There are currently over 600 Canadian companies active in India and over 100 of these are in the infrastructure and built environment space. In 2013, bilateral trade reached $5.8 billion CAD (Rs 31,967 Crore). However, the potential for expansion is far greater.
Canada, which was a partner country of Municipalika 2014 with 17 participating companies, has again signed up to be partner country of Municipalika 2015.
For the past 12 years Municipalika, the International Conference and Exhibition, has been instrumental in highlighting pertinent issues revolving around these challenges and opportunities, sharing best and leading practices, evolving technological and managerial solutions, and providing inputs for policy interventions. Key areas of focus for the Canadian companies include: water and waste water, urban planning, architecture and design, and transportation infrastructure including, intelligent transport systems.
About Canada’s role at Municipalika 2015, the High Commissioner for Canada to India, Mr. Nadir Patel, said: “Canada is pleased to be a partner country for Municipalika 2015. It’s exciting to see 20 of Canada’s leading infrastructure companies participating in this event and exploring opportunities in the Indian market.”
He further added: “Canadian companies are innovative and offer the highest levels of service and quality. Whether it be products and services related to sanitation, water, architecture and design, or intelligent transport systems, Canadian companies can deliver exceptional quality. I am pleased to share that already, several Canadian companies are actively engaged in India’s urban infrastructure space including city development and planning, designing world class buildings, installing state of the art water and sanitation systems, or lighting India’s railway stations with LED systems. I am confident that Canadian and Indian companies will identify many partnership opportunities, which will add to strong and growing relations between our countries.”
Canada and India has already been closely working in the Roads and Transportation sector since 2012 with the establishment of the Canada-India Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Road Transportation. This Memorandum of Understanding established a Joint Working Group, which has set a framework for cooperation, the exchange of information, and sharing of best practices between businesses as well as our governments.
Given Canada’s large distances and geographically diverse landscape, Canadian companies have extensive expertise in the design, construction and operation of transportation related facilities.
Canada is also at the leading edge for intelligent transportation systems including those related to traffic management, Global Information System tracking, rapid transport systems and multi-modal transportation.
In the urban development and built environment space, Canadian companies have developed home-grown expertise which is now exported abroad. Robust infrastructure has been critical to Canada’s development as a country, and our economic growth.
The Economist Intelligence Unit recently ranked three Canadian cities – Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary – in the top five most liveable cities in the world.
Such liveability is defined by many “smart” factors including environment, mobility, connectivity, governance and quality of life. Canadian companies have had a significant role in contributing to this success through developing and executing the plans and projects that have allowed Canadian cities to thrive.
India’s urban population has grown from 286 million in 2001 to 377 million in 2011, constituting 31.16% of the country’s population. This is expected to reach 590 million by 2030, contributing 70% to the country’s GDP.
According to a McKinsey report, by 2030 India will have 6 mega cities with a population of 10 million or more, 13 cities with 4 million people each, and 68 cities with population of over one million each.
The new BJP government which took charge in 2014 has launched many initiatives for improving the quality of life in cities and to make cities inclusive, equitable, vibrant, and economically competitive, with the state-of-the-art infrastructure.
The flagship projects are 100 Smart Cities, 500 Cities under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation – AMRUT), Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, Housing for All and Digital India. These programmes and the gargantuan growth of urban population is throwing up challenges and opportunities in the housing and infrastructure sectors for the central, state and local/city governments, as well as private industry.
And many countries with streamlined, smart cities are now willing to share their knowhow, technology with India. Canada being one of them, is known for its expertise in Public Private Partnerships (PPP)
For decades, Canada has used PPP as a procurement model for everything from highways to hospitals. Canadian firms are known for operating in innovative PPP frameworks and for developing high quality projects on time and within budget. Canada also has PPP experts who can provide advice and guidance on structuring and developing PPP models based on Canada’s experience.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who wants Rajasthan to be the ideal state for reforms is a firm believer in taking forward the state through PPP.
The three-day Municipalika 2015 in Jaipur inaugurated today by Raje will welcome over 1,000 delegates from all over India and abroad and focus on mega urban missions like the 100 Smart Cities, 500 cities under AMRUT, Swachh Bharat Mission, Housing for All – PMAY, Digital India and HRIDAY and feature prominently in the academic sessions.
Municipalika 2015 will observe participation from World Toilet Organisation, World Water Council, Global Observatory linking Research to Action (GORA), World Council on City Data (WCCD), UDP International (Hong Kong), Passive House Institute (Germany), C40 Cities, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability South Asia and many more international organisations. Besides Canada, Trade Commissions of Australia and Netherlands will also take active part in Municipalika 2015.