NEW DELHI: Delhi is making use of its location as home to embassies to tap into global expertise at hand for its smart city planning. At a recent meeting organised by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), diplomats from various countries gave suggestions on making Delhi a better city and expressed interest in sharing their expertise in various aspects of city management.

“The foreign diplomats had a frank conversation with NDMC. Present in the capital of India, the foreign diplomats are an important stakeholder of New Delhi,” said an official, who was present at the meeting.

NDMC wants to make Delhi a ‘world capital city’ and has even formed a Whatsapp group to allow all embassy representatives who participated in the meeting to air their concerns and report any civic violations in the national capital.

The civic body will finalise its plan for Delhi by December 10.

Among those present at the meeting were diplomats from Turkey, Kenya, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, Japan, Singapore, Vatican and Canada, among other countries.

The diplomats discussed some of the successful projects carried out in their cities back home and offered to share their expertise to replicate these projects in Delhi.

While the representative from Czech Republic talked about the country’s parking solutions, the one from Kuala Lumpur mentioned its public transportation system, the Bangkok diplomat talked about its disciplined traffic and the one from Nairobi spoke about changing public behaviour and instilling civic sense in people.

One of the suggestions voiced by most diplomats was the need to secure pedestrian spaces which get encroached upon by cars, potted plants and squatters.

“We have known these problems exist in our cities. Besides, the diplomats stressed the need to build better safety and security mechanisms in the city. The fact these officials are articulating these issues means we need to take them much more seriously in our city planning,” said Jaijit Bhattacharya, partner-government advisory at KPMG India.

The urban development ministry has listed 98 cities which will be developed under the Smart Cities mission in the next five years.

Central schemes including Swachh Bharat Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation will be integrated with the smart city planning.

The government will give Rs 100 crore to each city for this project till 2020. Besides, a corpus of Rs 48,000 crore has been set aside for the smart city mission by the Centre. An equal amount will have to be contributed by the state governments.