NEW YORK, NY | BLOOMBERG Philanthropies —
Bloomberg Philanthropies has detailed its partnership with the Government of India in support of the Smart Cities Mission, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious urban development programs to improve quality of life in India’s fast-growing urban centers.

Bloomberg Philanthropies is providing strategic and technical support in the design and delivery of a Smart Cities Challenge, through which central government will select 100 cities over the next three years to receive funding. The foundation also will provide support for cities to develop more innovative and impactful proposals. Bloomberg Philanthropies is leveraging both its expertise in designing large scale competitions for cities and its deep urban policy expertise and network to support the success of the Smart Cities Mission.

“Prime Minister Modi wisely recognizes the vital role cities can play in building a strong future for India, especially if local innovation is encouraged and rewarded. Through our work around the globe, we’ve seen how effective challenges can be in helping cities design and deliver better ideas – and we’re excited about what the Government and its partners can achieve with this approach in India, home to some of the biggest and fastest-growing cities in the world,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Mayor of New York City from 2002-2013.

The collaboration marks the first time the Government of India has embraced a competitive framework to advance a national urban development mission and to distribute grant funds. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support for the effort includes:

– Strategic and technical assistance to design and administer a Cities Challenge that enables central government to articulate standards and goals while ensuring local officials have broad flexibility to develop approaches that are citizen-centered and responsive to local needs

– Providing supports to help India’s municipal officials assess challenges, engage citizens, draw from best practices, and generate smart proposals – the best of which ultimately receive government funding

– Galvanizing an international network of urban practitioners to share global best practices and evidence in urban planning and smart solutions with India’s municipal and state officials and their partners over the course of the competition

The collaboration for the Cities Challenge, announced today, is a result of two meetings between Prime Minister Modi and Michael Bloomberg and subsequent staff level discussions. The two met in September 2014 when the Prime Minister visited the United States. They met again in February 2015 when Michael Bloomberg, acting in his capacity as UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, visited Delhi and Mumbai to meet with government officials to applaud India’s bold commitment to renewables and other carbon emission activities.

The Smart Cities Mission was outlined by Prime Minister Modi today during a forum at Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi, India that was attended by over 1,200 public sector leaders, urban planning experts and citizens from across the country. This flagship effort will allocate Rs. 48,000 crore (an estimated $7.5 billion) over five years to promote progressive urban planning, improve governance, and strengthen the economic, social and physical infrastructure of 100 cities.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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