I / Washington January 15, 2010, 15:47 IST
As India witnesses a boom in its urban population, New Delhi and Washington have agreed to deepen their ties in the urban development sector.
The decision in this regard was taken when Urban Development Secretary M Ramachandran met with top officials of the Obama Administration during his four-day visit to the US capital this week.
Ramchandran accompanied by Indian Ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar met US Department Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan on January 12 during which they discussed the challenges being faced by both countries in urban planning and development.
Both sides agreed to deepen the engagement and identify priority areas of cooperation in urban development sector, a media release said.
"The areas discussed include the municipal bond market, urban sanitation, energy efficiency, development of national building standards, capacity building, public-private partnership, and safety and security of the urban transport systems," the statement said. When Ramachandran met Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, both sides reviewed the implementation of the India–US MoU signed in 2007 between the US Transport Department and the Ministry of Urban Development of India.
They agreed to strengthen cooperation in priority areas, including, on the safety and security of the urban transport systems.
Ramachandran also invited Rogoff to attend the Urban Mobility India – Conference and Expo to be held in New Delhi on December 3-5 this year.
He addressed the 89th annual meeting the US Department of Transportation held in Washington on January 10 and delivered a keynote address at a business event organised by the US India Business Council on January 10.
During these meetings, Ramachandran highlighted the success story of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNRUM), which has seen a catalytic investment of over $10 billion in urban sectors such as transport, water and waste water management, solid waste management, housing and slum infrastructure across 63 'mission cities' in India.
He also mentioned the National Urban Transport Policy (2006), which provides strategic guidance for an increasing number of regional and local initiatives to improve urban mobility across India's states and cities.