India is far, far away from having smart cities, says Narayana Murthy

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Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy has said engineers prefer bigger cities for work, even as he rued that India is “far, far away” from having smart cities, one of the flagship programmes of the government.

“In my own company, we have built development centres in Mysore, Bhubaneshwar, Thiruvanantapuram… These are not rural centres, second-tier cities. They are not occupied more than 50%,” he said at an event in Mumbai last week.

Narayana Murthy

“Nobody wants to go there. Everybody wants to be in Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Noida. That is the reality,” he said, while replying to a question on whether we can aspire to contain the massive urbanisation.

Murthy said jobs for spouses, children’s education and quality healthcare are among the prime reasons why the company faces this problem.

Interestingly, the comment from the former chairman of the IT company comes even as government has been nudging IT and IT-enabled companies to go deeper into the country in order to create jobs all across.

Murthy spoke on urban systems during a lecture in which he stressed that India needs to work keeping in mind that mass scale migration will continue in the times ahead. He said none of the high income countries have progressed without urbanisation.

To take care of this, we will need to create jobs in the services and the manufacturing sector, he said.

He had also said the country was “far, far away” from its ambition of having smart cities, one of the flagship programmes of the Modi government.

“Since we are far, far away from smart cities, I did not talk about it,” Murthy said, replying a question on why he excluded any mention of the government initiative in his over one-hour lecture on the topic ‘City Systems’.

“I am a doer, I am not just a talker,” he said, asking the audience to visit Infosys’ campus in Mysore to have a taste of what a smart city can be.

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