Sweden is looking to work with Indian companies in a bid to build smart cities through public-private partnership agreements in the Indian states of Karnataka, Telangana and Maharashtra.
A senior Swedish official said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on an urban development framework signed between the two countries would facilitate the collaboration.
The Swedish official, Anna Liberg, trade commissioner to India, Business Sweden India and South Asia, said: "Rather than adopting cities in India, we will work on an actual PPP model, where in, we will bring in Swedish expertise and world class state-of-the-art knowledge and investment.
“There are 150 Swedish companies in India and the number is growing. A considerable part of them are in the field of urban development under the umbrella of smart cities. We are very strong in that,” she continued.
Liberg told the Press Trust of India that Sweden “sees business opportunities” in Karnataka, Maharasthra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh, with Sweden having expertise in the areas of urban planning, power, sustainable transport and waste management.
Smart solution offered will be offered to Indian companies on a commercial basis and will be showcased at the Smart City Expo later this month in New Delhi.
Micael Hagman, counsellor for Energy, Environment and Climate Change at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden said that smart cities cannot be built overnight. He said that it look 50 to 60 years to “clean up” Sweden’s cities.
"We started cleaning cities in Sweden when the country was not rich. Now, everyone looks at it and asks how did we do it. It did not occur over night. It has taken long tiresome process," he said.
"The initiative is important. The leadership of a politician is important. If it takes 7 or 15 years, it doesn't matter. It is the direction that matters.”
By 2022, the Indian government plans to develop 100 smart cities. The government 2014 budget allocation has set aside Rs 7,060 crore (US$1.5 billion) for developing smart cities.