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French government announces plans to invest in India’s ‘Smart Cities Mission’

The French government has announced that it will invest around 1.5 billion dollars in order to help accelerate the development of a number of projects that are set to commence in India as part of the country's ambitious 'Smart Cities Mission' program.

It has been disclosed that France will financially support three Indian cities, with the country sharing a particularly special relationship with the city of Chandigarh, which is famous for its architecture which was designed by French architect Le Corbusier. The other cities France has decided to support are Lucknow and Puducherry.

Regional Director at AFD (France Development Agency), Nicholas Fornage made the announcement whilst giving a keynote address at the International Experience of Smart Cities which was held in the Indian city of Chandigarh earlier this summer. He stressed the importance of how such an innovative project being embarked upon by India needed support, and confirmed that the AFD had formed a specially dedicated team for the 'Smart Cities Mission' in the three cities they have chosen to support.

He said, "We are providing technical assistance to the Smart Cities Mission. Our team of 35 technical experts will help Indian cities in various technical issues. The Special Purpose Vehicle which is set up for the implementation of Smart Cities Mission, need to be properly supported - and it is imperative this happens."

In addition this, it was further disclosed that France is currently reviewing and revising its own 'Smart Cities' program which is likely to be implemented by the end of 2017. However, the AFD announced that it will also provide financial assistance and support in addition to technical support under a program which it has entitled as its 'Smart Cities Support Program'. This initiative has set out to support at least fifteen Indian cities.

AFD's charismatic Regional Director also claimed that it was adopting a holistic approach to the project - and further emphasized the importance of education in relation to many of the programs that will be implemented. He said, "We will provide special training workshops for various Smart City projects. We will help Indian cities to develop a holistic approach for development."

As mentioned above, the Indian city of Chandigarh is world famous for its architecture which was the country's first ever modern planned city which was spearheaded by the French-Swiss master of architecture Le Corbusier. However, in an effort to reinvigorate the spirit of Le Corbusier, the civic authorities have ensured the city is endowed with the highest standards of cleanliness and living. Commentators have suggested that the city of Chandigarh still basks in the glory of its rich past, and can take inspiration from that moving forward as it aims to reinvent itself once more - with the ultra-futuristic design and outlay proposed for the city, it is poised to be among the smartest cities in the world.