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Varanasi-Koyoto Partner City Agreement: New initiatives on multiple fronts
Two great nations coming together to form a partnership that will be more widespread and inclusive of many other nations in the idea itself. Both countries are seeing new initiatives being taken on many fronts.

One of these initiatives is the Varanasi Kyoto protocol that was signed in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Shinzo Abe during the Indian Prime Minister's visit to Japan in August of 2014.

The project envisages several initiatives where both countries will cooperate in turning Varanasi into a smart city like it's now sister city Kyoto. Kyoto and Varanasi share a common heritage in the sense that they are both tourist hubs for religious pilgrimages. Kyoto has over 2000 temples out of which 1600 are Buddhist and Varanasi is for most Indians a place of immense religious importance. The project will be based on creating a smart city out of Varanasi and turn it into a modern thriving metropolis with sustainable and ecological way of life. Both cities have a strong connect to Buddhism and with the help of the Kyoto governance, the city of Varanasi could see a massive revival of many initiatives that Kyoto has managed to turn itself into a place where tourism and industry both thrive without destroying the environment.

 

The India Center Foundatio (ICF) has acted as a facilitator for Varanasi and Kyoto Foundation (VAKYO) between the two great cities that attract so many and will transform the lives of locals living there. The alternative development model first inculcated by France and England is being followed here. The model will be pro-active, pro-people and good governance.

 

The Vakyo Foundation will spearhead the development of smart cities across all the areas with Varanasi at its center. The boost to almost the entire state with this development is going to benefit the population in terms of empowerment of people, sustainable lifestyles with quality, a productive youth and an investment in human resources. It will act as a provider for women's empowerment creating new industries in both formal and informal sectors. Infrastructure in rail, road and other means of transportation would be implemented at a pace where the ground realities would change rapidly for the betterment of social structures. Education would be a prime mover in these initiatives. Especially the education of the girl child where the future implications for women would become a much better and healthier prospect. Almost every single facet of human interaction would undergo positive change.

 

The new model of development envisages unlimited aspirations with limited resources so as not to cause damage to the ecology of the city and its surroundings. The Indo-Japan Development Framework also takes into account the RME model of development. Relationships, Mechanisms and Empowerment/Economy. Like Kyoto, it will push the economy of the city and state to never before seen heights for both rural and urban society. The constant interaction between the officials of the sister cities will see to the smart city concept being implement holistically and set an example to others that plan to follow this model. The Agriculture Corridor being thought of as a first of its kind across 13 states comprising of Uttar Pradesh and Varanasi specifically would bring vast benefits to the people living in the entire stretch. Already, some of the initiatives have begun to have some effect regarding cleanliness, hygiene standards and infrastructure as government begins to take a lead in what is the Prime Ministers favorite constituency and from where he was elected.

The constant exchange of ideas between India and Japan will enable cooperation between industrial partners and people participation at the ground level. There is an urgent need to take steps and make this initiative a reality for the people living in the city and its surroundings. It will set an example for the rest of the country and the administration once the success of this project becomes reality. The India Center Foundation along with the Global Partnership Summit of all participants will act as the biggest and best push towards a truly enlightened populace and a chance for a prosperous life for all.

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