The oldest city in the world is set to embrace technology that will transform its services in an effort to become a 'smart city'. The city of Varanasi, which is recognized as the holiest site for those who follow Hinduism is located on the Ganges Rivers in Northern India.
It is one of over 100 cities that has been identified as needing significant investment in a bid to transform its existing infrastructure which is old and outdated - with the ultimate aim of helping Varanasi achieve a status of being labelled a 'smart city'.
Those tasked with the responsibility of giving this historic Indian city a makeover have pinpointed a number of specific issues that need to be addressed immediately. Those issues include improved transportation, better sanitation and waste management services and affordable housing.
However, in order to achieve this ambition, India plans to triple its steel-making capacity in order to fuel growth and investment for the innovate project. This would subsequently make it the world's second-biggest producer, trump Japan in the process and breathe life into an industry that just twelve months ago was on its knees.
A senior analyst at India Ratings & Research, Bijoy Thomas, said that targeting the steel industry would provide the pathway required to help India achieve its overall nationwide ambition to transform cities. Thomas said: "India is one of the bright spots for the global steel industry. We have a very low base of per-capita consumption and the nation is on the path to development.”
Further research disclosed by the World Steel Association claimed that India used just 63KG of steel per-person last year when compared with the 493KG used in China. It has been suggested that the low consumption base combined with the promise of a government-backed boom in construction has generated an interest in expansion plans as steel prices recover.
Thomas concluded by saying that India's ambitious plans could force the country increasingly to turn to global markets to get enough coking coal and iron ore.
The local government has formally announced a ($390 million) plan to build affordable houses, bury the millions of wires and cables that clutter the streets, install solar panels and upgrade the overall infrastructure by 2020-21. There are also plans for a metro system, part of a new urban rail policy approved this month that would bring new subways to 15 Indian cities and expand networks at 12 others. All of it will require millions of tons of additional steel.