Inadequate and crumbling infrastructure is the main reason why India failed to realise its true potential for economic and social growth. Better infrastructure not only improves quality of governance but also contributes to the acceleration of inclusive growth.
One way to improve India’s dilapidated infrastructure is to encourage the private sector to participate in joint ventures. Presently, the Indian private sector does not adequately contribute to government efforts in building infrastructure although there are some examples of public-private participation (PPP) that are worth emulating.
It is imperative that the government should look at the PPP model for development of infrastructure in many more areas. But attracting private investment will require an administrative openness and political dynamism that would assure a better investment climate.
This will also allow financial relief to the government, which can spend more money thus saved in the social sector.
Smart Cities can offer such PPP opportunities where the private sector can leverage its expertise and the experience. The prevailing hostile attitude of the government is a hangover from the socialist era of rigid economic policies.
Each city that wants to embrace Smart City concept should examine its competitive advantages and work on developing them to attract investments. Successful sustainability of Smart Cities requires clear-cut policies, removal of opaque procedures and stronger good governance.