Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MoHUA, Sets the Tone at the City Leader’s Conclave on Day 2 of the 28th Convergence India and 6th Smart Cities India Expo 2021

  • Opening Session on ‘Building Better Cities‘ witnessed pioneers and cross-domain experts on building resilient cities

  • Launch of Knowledge Paper ‘Road to Sustainable Smart Cities: Challenges, opportunities and emerging trends‘ at the Opening Session by KPMG in India

  • Day-long City’s Leaders Conclave included various City Administrators, including Smart City leaders from various Indian cities and several industry experts.

After a successful day of in-person networking on day one of India’s largest technology and infrastructure event – the 28th Convergence India and 6th Smart Cities India Expo 2021 – Day 2 marked the launch of the City Leader’s Conclave, with the inaugural session on ‘Building Better Cities‘.

Panelists at the Session Building Better Cities: (L-R) Dhruv Behl, Dr. O.P. Agarwal, Durga Shanker Mishra, H E Andre Aranha Correa do Lago, Nilachal Mishra, Akshay Bhalla

The Guest of Honour, Shri. Durga Shanker Mishra, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Govt. of India, paid a tribute to the Late Shri. Prem Behl, Chairman & Managing Director, Exhibitions India Group, and expressed appreciation for being part of the 6th Smart Cities India. He referred to the 6th Smart Cities India as the key platform for all technocrats, stakeholders, and city leaders to come forward and learn from each other and collaborate on the best practices they can highlight to build better cities.

Shri Durga Shanker Mishra – Secretary, MoHUA, addressing the City Leaders Conclave at 28th Convergence India & 6th Smart Cities India expo

Speaking on Building Better Cities‘ at the City Leader’s Conclave, he said, “The first learning is that cities are for people, for its citizens, and not just for corporations and bureaucrats. Citizens have demonstrated that they can come together to think, aspire, benchmark, and create targets for what their city needs to do and what will be best for citizens. The main learning from Smart Cities is to identify how to get more from less and how to make cities more inclusive.”

He further said, “There is no definition or specific explanation of Smart Cities. A Smart City is a city which is able to provide the best services to its citizens, in terms of liveability, and one that can provide a conducive liveable environment, wherein citizens can realize their highest potential.

The conference session was graced by the presence of a stellar line-up of eminent speakers, including Mr. Nilachal Mishra, Partner and Head of Government Advisory, KPMG in India; Dr. O.P. Agarwal, CEO, WRI India; H.E Mr. Andre Aranha Correa do Lago, Ambassador, Embassy of Brazil, and many more, who shared their vision and ideas.

Delivering the special address, Dr. O.P. Agarwal said, “Delhi‘s population is not just growing but leaping. The largest and biggest cities in the world are going to be in India. Cities do not just have to accommodate the growing population, but also have to facilitate the quadrupling of the population. There is no one else to learn from, but we will have to fight our own challenges.

Drawing a striking resemblance between India and Brazil with regards to the similar challenges and perspectives, H.E Mr. Andre Aranha Correa do Lago said, “Cities in India need to find their own answers, and with the wide diversity in India, each city needs its own solutions. The solutions for the cities in the north of India cannot solve the issues of the cities located in the south of the country.

The occasion was also marked by the launch of a Knowledge Paper by KPMG in India, titled – “Road to sustainable smart cities – Challenges, opportunities and emerging trends“. This paper hopes to serve as a set of insights into the longer term nature of urbanization in India to help the various stakeholders introspect and prepare for the next generation of inclusive urban development programmes in India. It has attempted to evaluate the smart city programme across key aspects, ranging from simplified governance to complex programme implementation. Speaking on the occasion, Elias George, Partner and Head – Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare (IGH), KPMG in India, said, “The knowledge paper findings reveal that, while considerable headway has been made in attaining the objectives of the programme, further interventions are required at the regulatory, policy & programme management and design levels. It is hoped that this document will be of practical use for the key actors involved in the smart cities programme, to critically evaluate its status across these domains, and to undertake further reforms and corrections as may be warranted.”

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in widespread turbulence across the world. As part of an emergency response to the pandemic, the Indian government leveraged the pioneering Smart Cities Mission (SCM) to enable cities to effectively leverage technology in improving citizen services and the overall quality of life. To deliberate on these challenges and the future roadmap of Smart Cities and learnings from them in India, various Smart City CEOs and other industry leaders gathered at the City Leader’s Conclave. Some esteemed panelists include Dr. Charru Malhotra, PhD (IIT-D), Indian Institute of Public Administration; Dr. Garima Mittal, IAS, CEO, Faridabad Smart City; Mr. Aditya Singh, CEO, Bhopal Smart City Ltd.; Mr. Ashish Kumar, CEO, Jabalpur Smart City Ltd.; Mr. Gaurang Rathi, IAS, Varanasi Smart City; Ms. Jayati Singh, IAS, CEO, Gwalior Smart City Ltd.; Mr. Nitin Sangwan, IAS, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, and many more.

Hosted by India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and Exhibitions India Group (EIG), 28th Convergence India and the 6th Smart Cities India Expo 2021, scheduled from 24-26 March 2021 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, supports the Government’s vision of transforming India into a digitally and sustainably empowered economy. Convergence India is at the forefront of India’s digital revolution, while the Smart Cities India expo is a reflection of India’s emerging modernization and development landscape. The combination of these two leading expos, supporting India’s Digital & Smart Cities Missions, delivers an event to accelerate technological innovation, opening with key discourses on the growth of India’s digital economy and enabling entrepreneurship as a driving force for socio-economic development.

About Exhibitions India Group

Exhibitions India Group is a trade promotion creating opportunities for investments, joint ventures and technology transfers. Exhibitions India Group acts as an interface between businesses, government, academia, society, media, etc. Exhibitions India Group has been in existence since 1987, and is committed to providing satisfaction to its customers by organising quality and focused international trade shows through exceptional services, employee involvement, market intelligence and continual improvement.

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