Digitization, technology and new ideas of the economy
Mahindra City has acquired 13 kms of land at Jaipur to build a city of the future around its firm.
India wants to make its cities smart
"Smart Cities" seem to be multiplying across the country to cope with the climatic changes and the changes occurring due to peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lifestyles. Both private and public authorities gear up to face the challenge.
Report: Jaipur, North West of India.
The capital of Rajasthan has approximately three and a half million inhabitants and it continues to increase through expansion.
Its strong economic growth has made it a dynamic hub for trade and commerce and makes it convenient due to the crossroads between the seaports in the West and the Industrial zones of the North. However, the rapid expansion and the steady increase in population makes urban life very difficult. In India, several of these "second-zone" cities are currently in the same situation. To counter this challenge, the solution of building Ã¢â‚¬Å“smart citiesÃ¢â‚¬Â in the four corners of the country, is being considered.
Jaipur, an emblematic city, has been chosen by the International group Ã¢â‚¬Å“MahindraÃ¢â‚¬Â, (one of the most affluent and popular Vehicle manufacturers, IT Service providers and dealers of real estate). The company has acquired around 13 kms of land, 20 km away from the crowded centre, and are constructing the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Mahindra World CityÃ¢â‚¬Â (MWC). ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not the first time for the Indian firm, with a turnover of 16.9 billion dollars in 2015. This is the second example of a site which is already operational in Chennai, India.
The project at Jaipur is a joint venture with the local Government. It has three main sectors which have separate economic activities. By planning a city next to the city, Mahindra wants to "develop sustainable living spaces more suited to the needs of the inhabitants. In short, to create a good eco-system for the company and its citizensÃ¢â‚¬Â.
"100 smart cities" planned
One of their main priorities is providing living spaces near the work place. Besides this, is the integration of new technologies, particularly for the management of public transport. One such is the Zipgo application that serves to optimize travel by an online pre-booking facility, after checking the status of traffic, that is already in service.
An effective waste management facility is also implemented which automates the collection process. Per Sanjay Srivastava, head of the MWC site at Jaipur, Ã¢â‚¬Å“we offer value addition to all stakeholders, to reduce the pressure on the infrastructure.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Mahindra has already attracted several other firms to its prospective site, such as JCB and the Deutsche Bank.
What do you mean by a "Smart City?"
The Indian Government does not provide any official definition, Ã¢â‚¬Å“due to the varying aspirations and willingness to change, on a case-by-case basisÃ¢â‚¬Â. However, the representatives of Mahindra look at it as Ã¢â‚¬Å“an economic centre integrating quality infrastructureÃ¢â‚¬Â.
The construction of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Smart citiesÃ¢â‚¬Â has become an urbanistic trend in several countries and Mahindra is not the only one to enter this arena. CISCO, a company specializing in security systems, has also stepped into this field.
The public sector too is not an exception. Prime Minister ModiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Government has also announced a central objective of plan of Ã¢â‚¬Å“100 smart citiesÃ¢â‚¬Â. The proposal looks very promising and the selection process of the best candidates will help boost national power.
However, the proposal has not yet been implemented. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Indian Government has embarked on a very large project. We prefer to concentrate on modest but concrete plans, says Sanjay Srivastava of MWC Jaipur.
Though Switzerland does not directly intervene in the Indian projects, it contributes to the renewal of urbanization through the Department of Foreign Affairs. (DFAE)
The Department of Development and Co-operation (DDC) is currently leading operations, whose capacities, aims to improve planning and research in the urban domain while taking into consideration the climatic conditions. Other priorities include Ã¢â‚¬â€œ reduction of gas emission with green-house effect and sentisizing people on the proper usage of scarce resources such as drinking water.
Among four towns that were considered in this context, three have been chosen by the Indian Government to be part of its program. Ã¢â‚¬Å“These pilot projects are considered on a larger scale to increase the share of the means of electric transport. For example, we can cite the use of e-rickshaws (three-wheeler taxis, editorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s note) at Udaipur, explains Silvia Muller, spokesperson for DFAE.
DDC experts, in partnership with the Energy Minister, suggest the construction of its own building. Despite the efforts made to increase the use of renewable energy, India always remains dependent on the use of fossil fuels for its expansion. Per an International energy agency, it is rather difficult to turn the tide in the years to come. To meet the challenge of the future, smart cities could be a solution.
The Swiss experts of DDC offer advice on the construction of their own buildings.