Need to incorporate art and culture to make cities great: NITI Aayog

New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Monday stressed the need to incorporate art and culture into the Smart Cities project to make them great and better.

During the event organised by FICCI, Kant said: “While urbanising cities, it is important that we create cities, which have cultural institutions, where artists can bring lives to the cities, stimulate our inspiration, provide better quality of life.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre has chosen 100 cities across the country, which will be developed as Smart Cities.

“In India, cities are actually focusing on smart infrastructure like water, electricity, waste management. It makes cities safer along with better transportation and affordable housing. That is essential. However, it will not make them great unless you focus on cultural districts, critical mass of art galleries, cinema, restaurants etc,” Kant added.

“Technology for smart cities without art and culture component will create lop-sided development only. Therefore, you need to take efforts to design, attract, retain and nurture the creative workforce of our cities.

“Technology and art and culture must embrace each other. We cannot have smart cities without art and culture. One critical thing is that we need to get all our city planners, who are frozen in time, to break their mindset,” Kant said, adding that the planners must interact with artists and people who worked in the field of art and culture.

Pavan Varma, former MP and author, said the government should first introspect at the existing state of the arts and culture in the country before moving ahead.

“More than the blueprint, you need to have the soul for what happens,” Varma said.

–IANS

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