A senior Indian official is pushing for greater smart city collaboration among the group of countries knows as BRICS.

As reported in the Indian Express, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje recently spoke as the BRICS Smart Cities Conference in Jaipur, India. The acronym BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Raje’s presentation emphasized the potential opportunities emerging for fellow BRICS nations to cooperate in developing smart cities and related infrastructure. As well, she encouraged further information sharing between these nations to enhance and accelerate the smart city learning process.

“Member countries of BRICS can learn many things from each other,” said Raje. “The collaborations within BRICS shall strengthen ties and improve our appreciation of each other’s cultures and peoples.”

She drew attention to innovative urban environmental management practices currently being developed in such cities as Beijing, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Saint Petersburg.

Innovative projects in these cities can be explored for potential application in India, with scholars and urban planners developing deeper exchanges of knowledge with fellow nations. She said that such knowledge exchanges will improve smart cities by enhancing safety and resilience.

“Growth of population in urban settlements is posing many challenges. It has placed additional loads on the infrastructure in every city,” said Raje. “Our thinking is that cities of tomorrow require technology-driven inputs to make life of our citizens easier and safer.”

BRICS may have more pressing citizen needs than others

In her presentation, the minister discussed the support of the Indian government for smart city transformations of Jaipur, Ajmer, Kota and Udaipur.

She added that a critical element in the process of developing smart cities is the tandem development of smart citizens. This echoes a growing sentiment among smart city pundits that governments are forgetting about citizens in the rush to implement whizzy new smart city technology.

“To make our citizens smart and skilled, our government has taken skill development as a top most priority,” she said.

“We have engaged with numerous partners in skilling up our youth in a wide range of trades,” continued Raje. “ITIs have been taken up by industrial houses to impart skills and all our industry partners are collaborators in creating job and imparting world class training to our youth.”