In a major boost to Prime Minister’s 100 Smart Cities project, the United Kingdom has shown its keenness to partner with India in developing these high-tech cities. The UK’s areas of interest include sustainable energy, financial and professional services skills and urban smart cities, defined as essential components in of a smart city.
Speaking at a round-table conference on ‘Smart Cities and Inclusion’, held at Vijayawada under the aegis of the British Deputy High Commission, Hyderabad, Deputy High Commissioner Andrew McAllister appreciated the efforts of Indian Government to make smart cities and, to realise this vision, he offered support in terms of the cutting-edge technologies that the nation has developed.
The UK can offer help to India, as the nation has pioneered itself in infrastructure innovation and developed many new technologies. It was also a global leader in digital technology and innovative financing solutions. Andrew McAllister said, “The London Underground is more than 150 years old and it is still driving the heartbeat of London. Our strengths span into all aspects of smart cities, i.e. design architecture and master planning to engineering consultancy, smart grids and project managements.”
Smart City is not only about shiny buildings and efficient infrastructure, the UK is well aware of the fact, he asserted, adding, “Smart Cities must have smart ways of public service delivery. When we talk about public, we need to involve everyone, every citizen, irrespective of his/her gender, age, abilities, caste, religion and race. We have to reach out to people in the last mile, both unserved and underserved.”
Andrew went on to say that technology and knowhow have been great levellers in the recent times. People are using ICT and social media to track, report and lobby on political issues. He also emphasised the need to ensure that the elderly continue to play an active role in the society and their health and social needs are met while maintaining their independence and dignity.