Even as the Central Government and the states are taking various initiatives to develop smart cities across India, Infosys Co-founder NR Narayana Murthy feels that the country is “far, far away” from realising the ambition of developing smart cities.
While delivering a lecture on ‘City Systems’ at Mumbai recently, as he did not touch upon about the Narendra Modi Government’s ambitious smart cities project, people wanted to know the reason. Murthy said: “Since we are far, far away from smart cities, I did not talk about it.”
He advised the audience to visit Infosys’s campus in Mysore to have a taste of what a smart city can be, and added: “I am a doer, not just a talker.”
During his lecture, he criticised the lack of infrastructure in cities, saying poor infrastructure can drive away investments and talent. “Continued neglect has made Mumbai suffer,” he added.
Murthy recounted that around a decade back, the country wanted to project Mumbai as the Asian financial centre. “But, we are nowhere near that dream for the very simple reason that investments are not coming in, talents are not simply available, productivity has gone down and growth has slowed down.”
“We are still placing Bandaids when there is a deeper cancer to be cured,” he observed.
The Infosys mentor also suggested that mayors be elected with a minimum of five years term, so that their visions can be implemented. “It will also ensure accountability,” he insisted.