The Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance (MoF); Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA); and the World Bank Group are jointly organising a 5-day focused workshop titled “Cities Creditworthiness Academy” with the view to create an enabling ecosystem for financing future cities of India. Today was the first day of the 5-day workshop scheduled from 14th to 18th November 2022, which focused on the theme “Vision of Future Cities and Role of Municipal Financing”.
The workshop was inaugurated by Shri Ajay Seth Secretary, DEA, MoF; Shri Manoj Joshi, Secretary, MoHUA; Country Director, World Bank (WB), India, and over 150 senior officials from the Central Government, State Governments and Municipal Corporations representing urban infrastructure departments. Shri Peeyush Kumar, Joint Secretary, Infrastructure Policy and Planning, DEA, welcomed the participants and communicated the objective of the workshop.
While delivering the inaugural address, Shri Seth emphasised on the 3 binding constraints of urban infrastructure financing in the country, namely Energy, Up-skilling, and Urbanization. Shri Seth also suggested that projects must be financed through a mix of ratepayer-taxpayer model for most efficient utilisation of funds. He also mentioned that States & Municipal Corporations must utilise the Chief Secretary (CS) Conference planned in January 2023 and series of national level workshops being organised by Infrastructure Finance Secretariat, DEA, to highlight the challenges faced with respect to Municipal financing.
Shri Manoj Joshi highlighted that efficient performance of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) is dependent on 3 broad pillars – Capacity, Municipal Financing and Urban Planning. For leveraging innovative financing mechanisms, a lot of capacity building is required to upgrade the technical fitment of ULBs.
The workshop was also graced by a Special Address by the Finance Secretary & Secretary Expenditure, Dr T.V. Somanathan, on ‘Financing Cities of Tomorrow’.
Dr Somanathan touched upon the topic of urban financing as a whole that includes both own revenues as well as borrowing from market. He also emphasised that ULBs need to focus on augmenting their own revenues as a precursor to targeting additional moneys from bond market.
Four panel discussions were conducted during the day long workshop. The first session was moderated by Shri O.P. Agarwal, on ‘Vision of Sustainable and Resilient cities of the Future’, while the second session was moderated by Mr. Prasad Gadkari, National Investment & Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), on ‘Connecting Municipalities with Capital Markets’. The other two sessions on ‘Municipal Financing and Urban Infrastructure Development’ and ‘Role of PPPs in Municipal Financing’ were moderated by Mr. Roland White, World Bank Expert and Shri Neeraj Gupta, IFC Cities Expert, respectively.
An array of detailed subject-focussed lectures are planned to be conducted by eminent international and local experts in the domain of urban and infrastructure finance during the remaining four days of the workshop, namely on, Policy and Regulatory Issues, Access to Capital Markets, Municipal Finance Management, Municipal Investment Planning and Creditworthiness improvement Action Planning, Action Planning by Municipalities etc.
Additionally, lessons from successful case studies from within and outside the country will also be shared including, but not limited to, bond issuance by Vadodara Municipal Corporation, City Spatial Planning from Oregon, US; capital market interventions from South Africa and Turkey.
Municipal Commissioners along with subject matter officers from many Urban Local Bodies from across the country are participating in this 5-day workshop.