Aiming to reduce emissions and promote sustainability to help India's smart city programme, France and the European Union on Friday extended a grant of 3.5 million euros under the 'Moblise Your City' (MYC) initiative.
Three Indian cities — Nagpur, Kochi and Ahmedabad — will get the grant as part of the EU's commitment under the Paris Climate agreement, French Development Agency (AFD) officials said.
More funds would be provided to India as loan to take forward the smart city and sustainable transport initiatives in the three cities on pilot basis.
"Recently Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met French President Emmanuel Macron. Both the leaders shared warmth… India is the very first country to benefit from the MYC initiative," said Claire Thuaudet, Deputy Chief of Mission, at the French Embassy here.
The MYC, supported by the French and German government, also has financial support from the European Union (EU).
MYC aims to extend help to 100 cities globally to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by promoting sustainable urban transport and to promote sustainability in urban spaces.
"Smart city programme and urban transport is surely one of the most important programmes here. And if it's successful in India then extension of this idea will promote such initiatives in other countries," Pascal Pacaut, Director Asia, AFD told IANS.
AFD has been associated with several projects in India and conservation of biodiversity, and is currently also funding the Vijayawada, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Kochi and Nagpur metro rail projects.
"France is the ninth largest foreign investor in India and our FDI policies had been simplified for ease of doing business with the French companies. We appreciate this financial assistance. Both the governments have a common mission and we look forward to strengthen our relationship further," Selvakumar, Joint Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) said at a signing ceremony here.
Reiterating the EU's commitment to the climate change and Paris Agreement "no matter what", Ambassador of the EU to India, Tomasz Kozlowski said the MYC initiative among many others were emphasised by the Indian and European leaders during Modi's visit to Europe earlier this month.
"Investment in energy, water, waste, climate and smart cities are investment in sustainability and address priorities under the flagship programmes of the Indian government. They are also part of our strategic partnership," the Ambassador told IANS.