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US MNC consortium to aid smart city operations in India
Monday January 19, 2015 12:27 PM, IANS

Ahead of US President Barack Obama's India visit, American business giants have come together and formed a consortium to address the infrastructure, energy and smart city projects coming up in India.

Multi-national companies (MNCs) including Cisco, IBM, 3M, EMC, GE, Honeywell, KPMG, Otis, Timken and Louis Berger have formed the consortium to provide wings to the joint vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Obama for strengthening bilateral commercial relationship, a trade body said Sunday.

This development follows the formation of the US-India Infrastructure Collaboration Platform, which was set up during Modi's visit to the US recently. The platform is supported by the US department of commerce, ministry of finance, and the American Chamber of Commerce in India (Amcham), an association of American companies in India that is driving this initiative said in a statement.

A capability deck offering US technologies and spelling out project solutions has been prepared by the consortium, it said.

Anil Menon, president, Smart+Connected Communities and deputy chief globalization officer, Cisco Inc, has taken over as chairman of the consortium.

"The consortium has been set up to collectively look at business opportunities in these sectors and aims at identifying and bidding for projects across the country. Large projects require strong Indian partners along with financing solutions to realistically move forward," said Amcham executive director Ajay Singha.

"The consortium will jointly interface with governments at the state and central levels and operate as a cohesive group offering multiple solutions to suit a diverse bunch of requirements," he added.

India is expected to spend a trillion dollars through 2017 for infrastructure development in the country.

Under a recent MOU, both India and the US intend to facilitate and improve the bilateral commercial relationship to benefit their economies.

This initiative is especially likely to benefit Vishakhapatnam, Allahabad and Ajmer, which have been identified by the Indian government for smart city operations.

Officials of the US government have interacted with the state governments in these three cities and set the tone for private sector participation by American companies.

The capability deck bridges the information gap and Indian partners will find it much easier to work out high technology solutions across the board.

"The consortium will offer competitive and cutting edge technologies of US expertise, products, services, know-how and solutions in fields of infrastructure, energy and smart city domains," Singha said.

"Transformation solutions across urban development, transportation, energy, IT and telecom are on offer," he added.

The group will endeavour to synergise their efforts with the inter-ministerial committee for US investments set up by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce, the trade body said.

The inter-ministerial committee has already met twice and has taken upon itself the onerous task of addressing individual challenges faced by US companies while implementing and expanding their business plans in India, it said.

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