This article has been modified. Please see clarification at the end.
International players have already begun work on the 100 Smart Cities project, even before the government has finalised its policy on the ambitious project. Japanese conglomerate NEC (earlier known as Nippon Electric Company) is one such, holding conversation with the Centre and several state governments to take up smart city projects. The central government is expected to roll out a policy soon for 100 smart cities, a project that was announced in July 2014.
NEC, a leader in integration of information technology and network technologies, is learnt to be in advanced talks with Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka, among others. It is already working with the Gujarat government for a security project in Surat, primarily on CCTV surveillance and forensic criminal investigation.
Koichiro Koide, managing director, NEC India, told Business Standard the company would like to collaborate with at least 20 cities in the country. The company will offer solutions for security of a city, biometrics and those related to energy, transport, logistics and environment, depending on case-to-case requirements. Koide refused to name the cities NEC was talking to. The company would invest in ‘’two digit million dollars’’, he said, adding that the amount could go up depending on the scale of the business.
Although the Japanese government had signed an MoU with India for developing Varanasi, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi represents in the Lok Sabha, as a smart city, it is not clear whether NEC would be part of that project.
NEC is in discussion with the government for Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project. Also, it could work with the government on a cyber security plan for India. Globally, the company has worked on several smart projects, including in Singapore and at several stadiums in Brazil.
Once the policy is cleared by the Union Cabinet, likely by April-end, 100 cities will be chosen through a competition. That is, state governments will participate in a 'city challenge'. States will compete among themselves to have their cities among the 100 to be developed as smart cities.
Though many countries—such as the US, Japan, Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Singapore-- have expressed interest in the project and entered into partnership pacts. Agreements will be signed only after the cities are identified. Ajmer, Allahabad, Visakhap-atnam and Varanasi are expected to make it to the final list.
In the earlier version of this article, it was mentioned that NEC is in talks with government for a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation project. The Japanese conglomerate in fact wants to collaborate in a Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project. The error is regretted.