ICLEI South Asia, with partner Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), formally launched the PROMotion of Inclusive, Sustainable Growth and Diversity to Strengthen Local Governments (PROMISE) project on November 24, 2016. The project aims to improve local authorities’ capacity to perform as development actors for improving quality of life in an inclusive manner. The project also involves support to the authorities to create, enable and institutionalise equitable and inclusive governance mechanisms, with an aim to support development of smart and sustainable growth in cities.
Speaking at the launch, Dr Narendran Kodandapani of ASCI stated that integration and synergy should be at the core of all development-related projects for cities. “Even most of the Sustainable Development Goals are now interconnected and need to be approached accordingly,” he said. Shouvik Dutta of European Union insisted that by being closer to the citizens, the communities help in mobilising
while acting as agents of change.
Perspectives from local government administration also came to fore at the panel discussion as Ms Amrapali Kata, District Collector of Warangal district of Telangana highlighted how the big gap between what is envisioned at the Centre and what is expected of administrators at the ground level posed challenges to the people. “Projects like PROMISE can help us define our immediate priorities in developing cities while not ignoring the long terms needs of cities,” she said.
Then, Nannapuneni Narender, Mayor of Warangal said that the city had sufficient funds under national government schemes like HRIDAY, AMRUT and Smart Cities Programme. The city will now work to achieve integration of all sectors that are crucial to Warangal’s growth and it welcomes all the support in inclusive development.
Mr Dheeraj Kumar, Executive Officer at Karnal, Haryana brought to fore how the city was making its efforts to clean the roads for people at night and leave messages that bring the sense of belongingness among a city’s residents. “Cities cannot be smart on papers. Its changes in human behaviour that can make them more developed,” he said.
Dr. Swati Godbole, Mayor, Jabalpur was not present at the meeting. She, however, sent a video message introducing the city, its challenges and its vision of a sustainable city. Ms Jyoti Kakwani, Deputy Commissioner of Ajmer city, highlighted how cities could immensely contribute to smart city development by making opportunities from the challenges they faced. Managing public spaces near the shrine of the holy city was mentioned as a major challenge for Ajmer.
Introducing the project that has building managerial and technical capacity at the core, along with improving accountability of local authorities and promoting diversity, Ashish Rao Gorpadhe of ICLEI South Asia said that the organisation deliberately chose four diverse cities to work through the project and develop a tookit that can later be used by a set of cities across India. Reinstating the importance of community participation in initiatives, Himani Tiwari of City Managers Association of Rajasthan asserted that Rajasthan witnessed a city where mayor took the lead to involve people and make it open defecation free.
The launch was followed by a panel discussion on various challenges that are gripping the cities in implementation of programmes like Smart City Mission, AMRUT, Swachh Bharat Mission.