UK Trade & Investment, a UK Government department working with businesses based in the United Kingdom to assist their success in international markets, projects the total cost of Indian Smart City Mission project to be to the tune of $650 billion (a projection it considers conservative), including 91 ‘brownfield’ sites at a cost of $3.5 – 6.97 billion each.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he hopes to see the UK become India’s “number one partner” in raising finance for the 100 Smart Cities Mission. Indian and British scientists are working together on new $14.25 million research collaboration into low-cost, low-carbon energy sources for the cities.
While India’s Smart City initiative presents opportunities across a number of sectors, one obvious benefactor is the information and communications technology (ICT) sector. The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), the apex body of Indian software companies, has said that the Smart City Mission is worth $30-40 billion for the sector over the next five to 10 years, assuming that 10 to 15 per cent of the financial outlay will be spent on IT.
This has raised a challenge to IT companies which will now require to find talent and nurture it. The government looks at Smart Cities as a way to attract and retain key talent in Indian cities and on the other it is facing the challenge to get the right talent.
The Smart Cities will have skill development centres as well as working women hostels and crèches, while Modi’s ‘Skill India’ project, which aims to provide training and skills development for 500 million young people by 2020, will also feed the skills base.
But before Smart Cities can attract talent they will need to be able to mobilise it to see Modi’s vision realised.
A Deloitte study has said that a Smart City can only exist when it is able to attract and retain high-tech and creative talent. These people are vital for a continuous renewal of the economic infrastructure through creative destruction and innovation.
They are the foundation for new initiatives, start-ups and a climate in which innovation can flourish. As traditional jobs disappear, talent is required to be the catalyst in a process that creates new businesses and new jobs. The megacities of the word are therefore competing for this talent.
It said in a report that the new job of ‘data scientist’ will be most sought after and the Smart Cities will need to have a huge supply of them. India is certainly off to a good start when it comes to having tech talent in place.
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