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Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri after launching the initiatives in Delhi on Monday.PTI  

Four months after Agence française de développement (AFD), the French development bank, signed a €100 million loan agreement for Smart Cities Mission, the Centre has announced a new challenge process to select 15 projects for the funding.

Four sectors

The loan, which amounts to Rs. 809 crore, will be given for projects in one of the four sectors: sustainable mobility, public open spaces, urban governance and ICT and organisational innovation in low-income settlements.

Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday that cities would not get automatic funding, but would rather be expected to compete for it. The challenge process would be conducted by the National Institute for Urban Affairs. The duration of the programme will be three years, till 2020-21.

AFD will extend grants ranging from Rs. 20 crore to Rs. 80 crore for each of the selected projects. The grant is likely to cover 50-80% of the cost, with each city expected to raise at least 20% of the money on its own. The repayment of the principal and the interest will be shared equally by the Central and State governments, according to an official statement.

Several other Smart Cities initiatives were launched on Monday, including an internship and fellowship programme, and a digital payment initiative that is being implemented in the form of a 100-day challenge.

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