India inks tech-leveraging smart city pact with Russia

India signed a deal with Russia over the cooperation of smart city initiatives and the use of IT technology from Russian companies.

As reported by the Times of India, Russia and India signed the Memorandum of Understanding against the backdrop of bilateral talks between the two countries.

The MOU was signed in Goa, where Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were holding expansive talks covering a range of bilateral engagement.

According to an official statement, an agreement was signed between Russia’s JSC Rusinformexport and India’s ministries of Urban Development and Home affairs, as well as the National Buildings Construction Corp. and the Haryana government.

India previously announced plans to develop 100 smart cities around the country by 2022. By last month 60 of the cities have been chosen under the ambitious plan that the government hopes will act as a springboard to modernize outdated urban infrastructure across India.

Russia just helping fellow BRICS smart city efforts

This comes as senior Indian government officials have been promoting potential opportunities to foster smart city cooperation among fellow BRICS nations. This includes further information sharing between these nations to enhance and accelerate the smart city learning process.

However, concerns have been raised that India’s laws will need a major overhaul in order to accommodate the modern challenges such smart cities will present

The huge increase in data that smart cities’ connected infrastructure will produce raises privacy issues that may be beyond the scope of India’s existing laws.

As well, there are questions being raised as to how exactly municipalities will be able to raise the massive amounts of capital needed to make these smart cities a reality.

City leaders have said that implementing India’s ambitious smart city goals will likely mean cities will need to boost revenues to cover costs of managing multiple stakeholders involved in smart city systems. This would require amendments to various laws including those governing municipalities and municipal corporations.

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