The BRICS has started off with a bang in Vizag yesterday with 72 international delegates and 400 domestic delegates participating in it. In the inauguration, Union minister for Urban Development Mr. M Venkaiah Naidu said that the competition to identify the next set of 27 cities under the Smart City programme has been concluded and would be announced next week.

Participating in the inauguration of the third BRICS Urbanisation Forum in Vizag, the minister said, “All the 4,041 statutory urban local bodies across the country came forward to compete in the first round of the smart city challenge competition through which 100 mission cities have been identified. Subsequently, two more rounds of competition was held among these 100 mission cities through which 33 cities have been identified for financing the smart city plan and another round of competition to identify another set of 27 cities has just been concluded and I would like to announce the results on Monday next week.”

Talking about the BRICS summit, he said, “The BRICS bloc with more than three billion people account for over 53% of the world’s population and about one fourth of global GDP. This mismatch again throws light on the need for and potential for stepping up economic growth in the member countries.”

In this occasion, Chief Minister Mr. N Chandrababu Naidu stated that Andhra Pradesh is going to become the first state in the country to become 100% open defecation free by 2nd October. He said that the state government is also planning waste-to-energy plants in 11 municipalities and corporations, whereas the other urban bodies will be converting waste to compost. He said the state government is also planning to introduce physical literacy in all municipalities of the state.