NEW DELHI: Canada today expressed interest in participating in India's ambitious programmes of 'Housing for All' and building 100 'smart cities' and offered its technology in this regard.
The offer was made by visiting Canadian Minister of International Trade Ed Fast during his meeting with Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Venkaiah Naidu here.
Referring to the proposed scheme of 'housing for all, Ed Fast highlighted Canada's expertise in wood-based housing technology, including in multi-storied construction, which India can consider to meet its ambitious housing targets.
Life span of such houses is about 60 years and is amenable for renewal, he told Naidu.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has highlighted his government's intent to have housing for all by 2022.
In pursuance of this, a Sardar Patel Urban Housing Mission will be launched soon to construct houses through public-private partnership, interest subsidy and increased flow of resources to housing sector.
The housing shortage in India is estimated at 19 million units. Out of this, about 95.6 per cent is estimated to be from economically weaker sections and low-income group households.
The Canadian Minister also made inquiries about other new initiatives in urban sector including building of 100 Smart Cities and infrastructure development in urban areas of the country, said a senior Urban Develpment Ministry official.
He sought to know the clear timelines for execution of these schemes and specific areas requiring technologies and investments, the official added.
Ed Fast said his country is keen to partner India in an appropriate manner in building smart cities.
Offering technology for waste water recycling, Ed Fast said that three of Canada's cities - Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary - figure among the top 10 smart cities of the world.
Venkaiah Naidu gave a detailed account of various initiatives and suggested cooperation in respect of affordable housing, waste water recycling, sanitation and public transport infrastructure in urban areas and building smart cities.
The visiting minister also noted that Canada is impressed by the "new found sense of purpose and vigor" in India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his country is keen to cooperate with New Delhi in all possible ways, a statement of the Ministry said.
Naidu directed the Secretaries of his two ministries to examine Canada's offers for firming up areas of cooperation before the meeting of Prime Minister with his Canadian counterpart during the forthcoming G-20 Summit.