India is a country that’s racing into its tomorrow, growing at a dizzying pace in every respect. Its burgeoning economy is contained in the stark reality of its ever-growing cities. Each year millions migrate from the country’s rural parts to its cities in search of jobs and a better life. According to estimates by 2030 India’s cities will be home to 40% of its population and will be the source of 70 percent of all jobs.

The government foreseeing this evolution of urban India conceived the Smart City Mission (SCM) that aims to develop at least 100 smart cities across India at the cost of US$14 billion. The objective as stated in the official website is to “to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions. The focus is on the sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act as a lighthouse to other aspiring cities.”

In its effort to create smart cities, India is collaborating and looking at countries that are ahead in green technologies and have included sustainability as a priority in city infrastructure. One such connection is with Canada, a country that India has always shared a cordial diplomatic and business relationship with. Owing to its emphasis on sustainable development, Canada has also come forward to pitch in with the smart cities program.

India’s need for redevelopment and smart technologies in cities means a tremendous opportunity for Canadian companies in the areas of clean energy, sustainable transport, education and city governance.

Canadian cities such as Brampton, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg have continually been moving towards better urban infrastructure. Montreal recently was acclaimed the ‘smartest city in the world.’ Three Canadian cities, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal stood at 23, 28 and 33 among the world’s most sustainable cities, according to a report (PDF 3.2MB) by London-based Centre for Economic and Business Research.

Canada has also been moving towards cleaner energy. Key among its efforts is its progress towards smarter electrical grid systems from its dependence on coal. Renewable energy, automated distribution, and advanced battery storage are gaining pace. The city of Ontario in Canada has completely moved to a coal-free electrical grid.

Among Canada’s efforts in helping India is its commitment to help make housing affordable to all. Canada’s Minister of International Trade in 2014, Ed Fast promised to pitch in to help with India’s goal of housing for all by 2022. Canada’s expertise in wood based high-density housing technology that enables multi-story construction could be employed in India, he suggested.

A few months ago, the government of the state of Maharashtra signed an MOU with Canada on urban infrastructure including smart cities, project financing, training and skills development.

According to Naveen Bains, Canadian Minister of Economic Development, the collaboration will allow world-class companies and colleges to find projects in India to work on.

Other Urban areas that are likely to see collaboration between the two countries are waste water recycling, sanitation and public transport infrastructure.

Another important area of cooperation between the two countries is public transport. India and Canada have a long-standing MOU in co-operation in the road transportation sector with a focus on road safety. It also includes the exchange of information as well as knowledge on Intelligent Transportation Systems between Transport Canada and Indian Ministry of Road Transport and Highway (MORTH).

The visit of Canadian diplomats in India has also given rise to various possible opportunities in developing smart cities. Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, on her visits has stressed upon developing smart cities and collaboration between Ontario and India. During her visit, Wynne met with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss Ontario’s role in Smart Cities Mission.

Taking its efforts to collaborate with India a notch higher Canada is organising a Smart City Mission to India in February 2017. This Smart Cities Mission to India will focus on building partnerships and will increase Canadian company knowledge of Indian market nurturing Indo-Canadian relations.

At Arsha Consulting, we’re doing our bit to contribute to the Smart Cities mission by working closely with Canadian companies to import and distribute sustainable products for the Indian construction sector. If you’re a Canadian company working in the cleantech, sustainable and smart cities sector, we can help you enter the Indian market. Contact Us now to know more.

Elizabeth Raj | Blogger - Arsha Consulting


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