FILE PHOTO: Indian volunteers clean the banks of the Yamuna River as they participate in Namami Gange, a government programme with the aim to clean and protect the Ganges and its affluents, in New Delhi on June 28, 2019. (NOEMI CASSANELLI/AFP via Getty Images)

INDIA has formed a partnership with Britain for the joint development of the water sector.

A collaboration agreement in this regard has been signed recently by Dr Vinod Tare, founding head of centre for Ganga river basin management and studies (cGanga) and and Lila Thompson, chief executive of British Water, UK’s leading industry body. The Indian high commissioner to the UK Gaitri Issar Kumar was present.

The cGanga is a think tank under the ministry of Jal Shakti and a knowledge partner to the national mission for clean Ganga.

India will launch an exhibition on water and Namami Gange that will travel across the UK in 2021 and end at the COP 26 meeting in Glasgow in November next year, an official statement said.

The high commissioner highlighted that out of 23 companies selected so far in Namami Gange’s Environment Technology Verification (ETV) process, 11 are from the UK. She pointed out that whilst UK is known for its science, research and finance, there is also ample technological innovation taking place that can be of mutual benefit to both nations.

Speaking during the virtual event U P Singh, secretary of Ministry of Jal Shakti highlighted three flagship schemes in India related to water sector, namely Namami Gange, Jal Jeevan Mission and Swachch Bharat Programme.

Alex Imseeh, of London Stock Exchange said that the capital markets of London are deep and liquid and can provide ample liquidity for India’s infrastructure growth.

Ben Crackett, head of global export and investment, city of London corporation, said: “UK can help India develop many cutting edge instruments such as Water bonds, credit enhancement instruments and specialist insurance which will all be very useful for the hundreds of billions needed in the construction of India’s water sector.”

Over 100 business leaders from both nations participated in the session that culminated with a business leaders’ dialogue with Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, director general of the national mission for clean Ganga.

“India’s partnership with the UK will bring significant benefits including knowhow and capital. There have been a number of dialogues between the two nations to develop financial vehicles such as Ganga bonds, specialist technology demonstration funds and most importantly project finance pools,” Mishra said.

Speakers also highlighted the importance to bring more capital into the water sector in India and using cutting edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence.