France announces EUR 100 million loan to support India’s Smart Cities Mission

The French government has announced a package of a 100 million euro loan agreement between the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Government of India to support the latter’s innovative flagship Smart Cities Mission.

100-million-euro loan agreement between the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Government of India. Photo Courtesy: French Embassy In India website.

Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships of France Chrysoula Zacharopoulou announced the loan agreement on Tuesday (October 31, 2023).

“This loan supports India’s innovative flagship Smart Cities Mission and builds on the CITIIS 1 programme, also supported by the European Union and implemented by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), a think tank under the auspices of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs,” read a statement issued by the French Embassy in India.

CITIIS 1.0 programme, launched in 2018, has to date benefited 12 city-level projects, supporting them to build capacity and implement innovative solutions for sustainable mobility, public open spaces, urban e-governance and ICT, and social and organisational innovation in low-income settlements.

From climate-oriented designs, participation of urban local bodies and citizens, management of environmental and social risks to ensuring social inclusion, the project supports India’s path to urban sustainability. The European Union has provided technical support to the CITIIS 1.0 programme with a contribution of 6 million euros.

The second edition now focuses on circular economy and integrated solid waste management. It builds on the same successful approach, with an increased budget of 212 million euros, also including a loan from Germany’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), and a 12 million euro grant from the European Union, as part of its flagship Global Gateway strategy.

As recalled by Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Indian cities are facing the growing challenge of solid waste management: 62 million tons of municipal solid waste are generated every year in India, and this figure will go up to 165 million tons per year by 2030. The Government of India is supporting ambitious investments for the proper collection, segregation, recycling and treatment of such volumes of waste, in which the private sector, too, has a role to play.

Welcoming the agreement, Minister of State Chrysoula Zacharopoulou said, “France, together with Team Europe, is proud to support this programme, which will be key in building cleaner, greener, and more sustainable cities in India. The innovative CITIIS approach not only mitigates the health and environmental impact of waste, but also creates economic opportunities and positive social impact on citizens.”

“This project is also emblematic of how the European Union’s flagship Global Gateway strategy can support key partners, such as India, in reconciling economic development with environment protection while building the infrastructure of tomorrow,” added the French minister.

Seppo Nurmi, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Delegation of the EU, said, “For both EU and India, cities are the engine of growth but need to adapt sustainable models to be able to address climate change and environmental challenges. This project addresses that precisely, with the EU mobilising investments from Team Europe for a transformational impact. The EU is happy to continue providing technical support to Indian cities in their journey to become self-reliant and future ready.”

He added, “India is a key partner for us under Global Gateway Strategy and CITIIS 2.0 is yet another project that highlights our mutual commitment to build sustainable and trusted infrastructure.”