India’s urban growth and 100 Smart Cities provide opportunities for all

Urbanisation in India is one of the major economic and population changes in the modern world – but making the most of this business opportunity requires a new approach from governments and business.

The Indian urbanisation boom is in two areas:

  • In existing urban areas for upgraded infrastructure and utilities
  • In 100 “Smart Cities”

The sheer size of these projects mean that individual companies going over could get swamped or lost – while countries such as Canada, South Korea, Japan and Singapore are taking fully coordinated solutions across – from finance through construction to management. The Indian government expects international money to fund 80% of the Smart Cities projects.

The needs are in areas most western cities are good at – efficiencies in water and electricity, new and improved transport provisions, and better waste management and sanitation, design and management, roads, public transport, upgraded utilities, management and municipal services and solutions to meet current environmental challenges.

Urban Development and Governance 

Municipal and state governments are key stakeholders alongside the private sector in the development of new urban areas. The introduction of e-governance for the delivery of administrative services is a rising trend across India that aims to reduce administrative delays, corruption, and improve analytical capabilities of cities.


Transport infrastructure will increasingly focus on areas such as ring roads and commuter train services alongside the basic logistical needs of a growing Indian industrial base – road and highway infrastructure is one of the largest infrastructure investment priorities, as well as traffic management solutions, electronic traffic management systems, centralised traffic light control, and digital signage.

Water, Sanitation and Solid Waste Management

The new Indian government has pledged to achieve ‘24×7 Water and 100 per cent sewerage’ by 2019 through the CLEAN-India [Swachh Bharat] initiative.  Water conservation is a significant issue in most major cities in India, and water shortages are a major threat to future urban development.


It is expected that efficiency gains can be made with the use of smart grids, improved demand management systems, implementing energy conservation building codes, and streetlight management. A sustainable energy mix will include more renewable energy sources, with solar and wind energy developing fast.


Financing of urban infrastructure in India comes from a number of sources including national, state and municipal budgets as well as the private sector. Of note has been the trend for countries such as USA, Singapore, Canada and Japan to present to India a consolidated program incorporating the finance and project implementation.


Opportunities abound as a result of urbanisation in modern India. The keys to success will be identifying the best opportunities and collaborating with a targeted solution – meaning businesses and their advisors need to get together and involve government as well.

Author: Stephen Manallack

Former President, Australia India Business Council, Victoria and Author, You Can Communicate; Riding the Elephant; Soft Skills for a Flat World (published by Tata McGraw-Hill INDIA); Communicating Your Personal Brand. Director, EastWest Academy Pty Ltd and Trainer/Speaker/Mentor in Leadership, Communication and Cross Cultural Communication. Passionate campaigner for closer western relations with India. Stephen Manallack is a specialist on “Doing Business with India” and advisor/trainer on “Cross-Cultural Understanding”. He is a Director of EastWest Academy Pty Ltd which provides strategic advice and counsel regarding business relations with India. A regular speaker in India on leadership and global communication, his most recent speaking tour included a speech to students of the elite Indian university, Amity University, in Noida. He also spoke at a major Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) global summit, the PR Consultants Association of India in Delhi, the Symbiosis University in Pune and Cross-Cultural Training for Sundaram Business Services in Chennai. He has visited India on business missions on 10 occasions and led three major trade missions there. He provides cross-cultural training – Asia and the west.

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