Addressing the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic showed the world that cities, which are also growth engines, are the most vulnerable. “Covid-19 has given us an opportunity to reset before restart. Things like community gatherings, sports activities, education & recreations are not the same as before. The biggest question before the entire world is how to restart. A good point to restart now will be rejuvenating urban centres,” PM Modi said.

Talking about Covid-19 lockdown, PM Modi said, “Lockdown faced resistance across the world. But Indian cities abided by lockdown rules as the building block of our cities are not concrete but community.” People migrate cities for work. But isn’t it time to make cities work for people, PM Modi said.

“Can we not build sustainable cities? It has been our endeavour in India to build urban centres which have the amenities of cities but the spirit of villages. Technologies helped us continue our work during Covid-19 pandemic,” PM Modi said.

Sustainable mobility is the key to set up resilient cities, Modi said as he talked about his government’s affordable housing and rental projects, apart from Digital India, Smart Cities projects.

“If you are looking to investment in mobility, sustainability, India is the best place. And all these come with a vibrant democracy where the government will leave no stones unturned to make the country investment-friendly,” PM Modi said as he concluded his speech.

The inaugural forum was held in Singapore, followed by a second edition in Beijing, covering issues such as global economic management, trade and investment, technology, urbanisation, capital markets, climate change and inclusion. Director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, former US President Bill Clinton, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres are some of the other speakers scheduled to address the forum.