In a bid to give a fillip to the ‘Housing for All’ scheme, the ministry of housing and urban affairs has sought South Korea’s help in hand-holding of urban local bodies of cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, and financing urban infrastructure, a senior ministry official said. “There is rapid urbanisation in the country leading to rising population of metropolitan cities, other cities and towns, accelerated demand for basic services, scarcity of land for affordable housing and growth of slums and unplanned settlements, among others. In this regard, the Seoul Metropolitan Government can cooperate in hand-holding Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru in capacity building of urban local bodies, financing of infrastructure, including housing and other social amenities,” the official said. Last week, minister for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri met Seoul mayor Park Won-soon.
Puri discussed with him areas where Seoul has considerable expertise such as smart cities service, including citywide high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity, integrated transport and environment-friendly sewage and waste disposal. Korean companies have an opportunity to participate in the urban development schemes. About Rs 5 lakh crore of investment is envisaged in urban development under the ministry’s flagship schemes, including Rs 1 lakh crore for AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation), Rs 1 lakh crore for smart cities, Rs 1.8 lakh crore for affordable housing and Rs 62,000 crore for the Clean India Mission.
The official further said the Seoul Metropolitan Government is also likely to bid for smart city proposals of NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Corporation). “Smart city proposals of NDMC have been uploaded on the website of the ministry and the Seoul Metropolitan Government can study these proposals and see where their expertise and interests match with the proposals and accordingly bid for those projects,” the official said. “The mayor’s visit and our capacity to engage him in enthusing Korean businesses to look at our major cities as destinations for their business intervention would be useful,” the official added.