The government of India, in the year 2015, announced a slew of schemes to catalyse foreign investment in areas that would help in creating growth momentum through the use of technology and innovation. Some of the schemes that have generated substantial interest globally are the SMART Cities Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, Digital India and Make in India. This article examines the opportunity size of each scheme for the benefit of the investors who may be evaluating these programmes to make investment decisions.Smart Cities Mission
The Smart Cities Mission for 100 cities would operate as a centrally sponsored scheme and the central government proposes to give financial support to the mission to the extent of Rs.48,000 crores over five years i.e. approximately Rs.100 crores per city per year. However, the GOI and the States/ULB funds will meet only a part of the project cost, and the balance funds are expected to be mobilised from other sources including Public Private Partnership.

Hence this urban rejuvenation scheme offers opportunities for the private sector companies in urban water supply, electricity, sanitation including solid waste management, public transport, affordable housing – especially for the poor, IT connectivity and digitalisation, e-governance, sustainable environment, health and education sectors.

Digital India initiative
The Digital India initiative is being implemented by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology. Digital India aims to provide the much needed thrust to the nine pillars of growth areas, namely broadband highways, universal access to mobile connectivity, public internet access programmes, e-governance – reforming government through technology, e-kranti – electronic delivery of services, information for all, electronics manufacturing, IT for jobs and early harvest programmes.

The Digital India programme has set out an ambitious target to achieve internet connectivity to 2,50,000 gram panchayats by December 2016 through an investment of Rs.32,000 crores; Nationwide infrastructure through National Knowledge Network and National Optic Fiber Network by 2016; Virtual network operators for service delivery covering 42,300 villages by FY18 with an investment of Rs 16,000 crores; 1,50,000 Post Offices to become multi-service centres by 2016; 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats to have service delivery centres by March 2017 through an investment of Rs.4,750 crores; government process re-engineering, electronic databases, complete workflow automation & IT-based public grievance redressal in all govt. departments; and use of emerging technologies.

Swachh Bharat Mission
Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) has two parts: SBM (Gramin) and SBM (Urban). SBM (Gramin) aims to improve the quality of life in rural areas by promoting cleanliness and hygiene.

SBM encourages cost-effective and appropriate technologies for ecologically safe and sustainable sanitation. It offers opportunities for the private sector under the following components – household toilets, including conversion of insanitary toilets into pour-flush toilets; community toilets; public toilets; solid waste management; IEC & public awareness; and capacity building.

The estimated cost of implementation of SBM (Urban) based on unit and per capita costs of various components is Rs.62,009 crores. The government of India’s share as per approved funding pattern amounts to Rs.14,623 crores. In addition, a minimum additional amount equivalent to 25 percent of GOI funding, amounting to Rs.4,874 crores shall be contributed by the states. The balance funds are proposed to be generated through various sources including PPP.

Make In India
The Make in India initiative aims at time-bound project clearances through a single online portal which will be further supported by the eight-member team dedicated to answering investor queries within 48 hours. The 25 sectors identified under the programme include automobiles, auto components, bio-technology, chemicals, defence manufacturing, electronic systems, food processing, leather, mining, oil & gas, ports, railways and textile. The opportunities under this scheme could be in terms of partnerships, collaborations or joint ventures in R&D, manufacturing, distributorship or local support; also in survey, sales or marketing where foreign companies seek information on India and its market.

All of the above schemes endeavor to promote, foster and sustain investments in areas covered under each one of them and contribute towards achieving India’s economic and social goals by way of guided intervention through policy and enabling regulatory framework.

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