India to tap Singapore's expertise in urban management

The programme, launched by the SCE and Temasek Foundation in collaboration with India's Niti Aayog think-tank, will feature workshops and interactive sessions on topics such as water conservation and urban management.
The programme, launched by the SCE and Temasek Foundation in collaboration with India's Niti Aayog think-tank, will feature workshops and interactive sessions on topics such as water conservation and urban management.PHOTO: REUTERS

Singapore and India have launched a training programme in New Delhi for 115 Indian state government and municipal officials in urban management and water conservation, as the South Asian country looks at upgrading its infrastructure while managing its resources.

The programme was launched yesterday by the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) and Temasek Foundation, in collaboration with India's National Institution for Transforming India (Niti Aayog), a government policy think-tank.

Under the programme, experts from Singapore will address workshops and interactive sessions from April to November on topics such as urban management and transport. Indian officials will also travel to Singapore for first-hand experience.

Officials from drought-hit states, like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, will hear from experts on Singapore's experience in efficient supply management and conservation of water, apart from recycling and reusing treated waste water.

India is currently in the midst of a severe drought affecting 330 million people, after two years of poor monsoon rains.

"It (water management) is one of the key components. Singapore has some experience in how to use and recycle water... The key is how do you manage water resources more effectively. Because of the drought, in a way, it (the programme) is timely," said Mr Kong Wy Mun, chief executive officer of SCE. "This is but one of the initiatives we are looking at (in India). We hope this will be the start of something bigger."

The programme was one of several agreements signed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Singapore in November last year.

Singapore, which has good ties with India, is already involved in urban projects in India, including the development of two townships and the setting up of a skills centre in the northern desert state of Rajasthan. It helped Andhra Pradesh create the masterplan for its new capital city of Amaravati recently.

Mr Benedict Cheong, chief executive officer of Temasek Foundation, which has provided a grant of US$630,000 (S$850,000) for the programme, said India could learn from Singapore's experiences and also its mistakes.

"In Singapore, we were blessed to have had many countries to learn from when we were developing. It is only right that we do the same for friends and neighbours in the region," he said.

Mr Amitabh Kant, chief executive officer of Niti Aayog, said the collaboration "would facilitate tapping the expertise of Singapore in urban management for rejuvenating the Indian urban landscape".

Nirmala Ganapathy

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2016, with the headline 'India to tap Singapore's expertise in urban management'. Print Edition | Subscribe