India, US to set up task force on 3 smart cities

India and the US on Tuesday decided to set up a task force for jointly developing Allahabad, Ajmer and Visakhapatnam as smart cities.

The decision was taken at a meeting between Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and visiting US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, two days after the two countries signed pacts under which the three cities will be developed as smart cities with the help of the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

According to the decision, the joint task force comprising officials from the Centre, state governments and the USTDA will be constituted for three cities. It will prepare a road map to develop these cities into smart cities in three months and also find out revenue models for mobilising resources to implement the project.

Two days ago, India signed three agreements with the USTDA for developing Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, Ajmer in Rajasthan and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

“It is now time for both the sides to walk the talk by acting quick and concretising the agreements reached,” Naidu said. Contending that the initiative has made the idea of smart cities a reality, the minister said Obama’s current visit to India has even furthered these expectations. “Action is the need of the hour,” he added.

Pritzker said she had met the chief ministers of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh whom she described as “go-getters”.

The meetings gave her immense confidence about taking forward the smart city cooperation between India and the US, the US Secretary of Commerce said. The NDA government has planned to develop 100 smart cities across the country and is seeking cooperation from various countries to implement the best practices in this field.

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