Success has even more detractors than it has fathers. Accolades and brickbats have been the story of the Gujarat International Tech-Finance City or the GIFT City that has attracted eyeballs and envy in equal measures ever since its inception for it being the first-of-its-kind in India. Vision of a state (Gujarat) and business acumen of an infrastructure giant (IL&FS), took on the challenge when there was no one to pick the gauntlet. Sooner than expected, it rose to #6 in Asia and #10 amongst top 92 financial centres in the world. Praised by businesses in India and abroad, it has remained in headlines for the wow factor. Recently, there has been a concerted campaign making sensational claims against the project. Whether there is an element of truth or is it a case of jealousy, vendetta and detractors at work? Dr Gursharan Dhanjal, Editor, INCLUSION, speaks with Ajay Pandey, MD & Group CEO, GIFT City to find out:
Based on the learnings of implementation of urban development schemes in the country in the past and particularly, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), a paradigm shift has been brought in our efforts to recast the country's urban landscape. The essential features of this new approach being: bottom-up planning, based on citizen participation in prioritisation of projects and formulation of plans, complete autonomy for states and urban local bodies in appraising and approving projects, selection of cities and towns for inclusion in new urban sector schemes and allocation and release of funds based on an objective criteria, convergence of different schemes to enable integrated planning and better utilisation of resources of central and state governments and unprecedented resource empowerment of states and urban local bodies.
Anupam Verma, who works for a multi-national company in Mumbai, was deeply disturbed after reading a report regarding the presence of poisonous chemicals in conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that he and his family used to eat everyday. The report was indeed scary. It said the consumption of these produce might cause life-threatening diseases like cancer, neurological defects, autism and respiratory and reproductive problems. Verma did not want to take a chance and decided to use only 'organic produce', which are presented in the report as a healthy alternative.
In 1947, when we gained Independence, the biggest challenge in front of us was the security of the nation. It was a huge and a difficult task. And many believed that India would not be able to keep its political integrity intact.
The Ministry of urban development (MoUD) has published a Concept Note on Smart Cities through a very well defined and articulated framework designating 4 pillars as the foundation of this concept. The vision gets clearly defined through this simplistic yet powerful representation on the outcome that smart cities should aim to achieve as an outcome of this critical Initiative
Cities are engines of growth. Although, just over 30 per cent Indians live in cities, they contribute more than 60 per cent to the country's GDP and 80 per cent of tax revenue. But city dwellers face many challenges from poor supply of water, power to other infrastructure related problems, writes M Ramachandran
A society makes progress only when its people come together in a consultative manner and work collectively to achieve the common goal - a country progresses and brings in peace and prosperity. It is necessary that we create an atmosphere for people to converge and ideate to bring value to the society. This is a very first attribute of a smart city. All over the world, people migrate from rural to urban areas in search of livelihood. Our objective is not only to create jobs but also improve the quality of life.
Good governance is inseparably married to responsible citizenry. We have the right to expect everything in order; but it is also equally, if not more, important to do our bit in this marriage. First and foremost, the victims of the catastrophic floods in Jammu and Kashmir need succour, relief. For months, if not years, after this, we are going to sit and analyse how and why the water got to such devastating levels.