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Statement by Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to UN and other International Organizations in Geneva, H.E. Mr. Ajit Kumar - 19th session of United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) Agenda Item 3, Priority themes: (a) 'Smart Cities and Infrastructure'



Intervention by H.E. Mr. Ajit Kumar, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva on Agenda Item 3 at 19th session of United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD)

Priority themes: (a) Smart cities and infrastructure


Thank you Mr. Chair .  I thank the panelists for their useful presentation.

Cities are engines of growth for the economy of every nation, including India. Nearly 31% of India’s current population lives in urban areas and contributes 63% of India’s GDP as per the latest Census. With increasing urbanization, urban areas are expected to house 40% of India’s population and contribute 75% of India’s GDP by 2030.

This situation requires a comprehensivedevelopment of physical, institutional, social and economic infrastructure. All are important in improving the quality of life and attracting people and investments to the City, setting in motion a virtuous cycle of growth and development.

Development of Smart Cities is a step in that direction. There is no universally accepted definition of a Smart City. It means different things to different people. The conceptualization of Smart City, therefore, varies from city to city and country to country, depending on the level of development, willingness to change and reform, resources and aspirations of the city residents. A Smart City would have a different connotation in India than, say, in Europe or South America.

The purpose of the Smart Cities Mission is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local area development and harnessing technology, especially technology that leads to Smart outcomes.


Mr. Chair,

The Smart Cities  Mission of India, launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi in June last year,  will cover 100 cities with an outlay of over US $ 60 billion till 2020.  The objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of 'Smart' Solutions. The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities. 

Delegation of India takes note of the Report of the Secretary-General on Smart cities and infrastructure which gives an overview of  key future trends  on urbanization and their linkages to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The report mention about the initiative to improvements to the water supply system in Mumbai, where Smart Water Meters have been installed. These remotely controlled meters have  resulted in upto 50% reduction in water leakage.

We are happy to find that the report cites  The Gujarat International Finance Tec-City also known as the GIFT City a representative example of an integrated smart city in India – incorporating the different functions of a city – Water, Waste, Air-Conditioning, Energy / Utilities, Transport and an ICT backbone to help manage these components.

In Bengaluru(Bangalore), India, the social enterprise NextDrop, is providing  platformsthrough which city government is actively engaging with citizens in a regular manner.  This platform is helping to coordinate information between operations centres, water suppliers and customers using calls and short message services, with residents informed of any disruption in water services, and the mobile application serving as a social platform to discuss water-related issues


Mr. Chair

Government of India has launched a dedicated portal on its Smart Cities Mission; I take this opportunity to invite the participants to access this web portal for more details on many more examples which can be highlighted to showcase various futuristic steps taken by the Government of India towards building 100 smart cities in the coming five year time horizon.


With these words, I would like to conclude by putting on record India’s support for the approach highlighted in the SG’s Report, which calls for adopting of a participatory approach to smart city development and the importance of collaborating with all relevant stakeholders to define a concept and vision of a smart city that is relevant for local contexts and can help respond to specific local sustainable urban development needs

With these words I thank you once again.