Netherlands and India: Partners for Water Management

The Netherlands Trade Mission to India 2018 unfurled from 22nd May to 25th May. With over 200 participants, 140 companies/knowledge institutions, 4 cabinet ministers, and Prime Minister Mark Rutte, this was the biggest ever Dutch Trade Mission to India and almost twice the size of previous flagship-mission in 2015.

During the course of the trade mission, Indian and Dutch companies brainstormed, discussed and shared ideas about collaborations in the below-mentioned sectors:    

Agribusiness & Horticulture
Life Sciences & Healthcare
Water Management, Logistics & Maritime
High tech & IT and Smart Cities
Sustainable Business

The Water Management, Logistics & Maritime sector was represented by Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and Water Management. The Netherlands and India have a strong bilateral relationship in the field of water management, ports, infrastructure and environmental technology.

Besides sharing knowledge on G2G-level, the Netherlands also contributed in finding solutions for water-challenges, which also makes a business case. The Clean Ganga seminar that was held during the trade mission, showcased the expertise of Dutch companies, and the possibility of economic opportunities and making partnerships with Indian companies and governments.

I have a great respect for the goals that have been set by Prime Minister Modi under the Namami Gange programme", Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte

Since the signing of the last MoU, multiple projects were started with Dutch cooperation. Some of those projects are specifically targeted to contribute to the Namami Ganga Initiative from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and have a public-private character:

  • Kanpur, located directly on the Ganges, is an industrial city in Uttar Pradesh where more than 400 tanneries are located. During the processing of the leather, many chemical waste products end up in the water, which is harmful to both health and ecology. In the project that is partly financed (2.5 million euros) by the Dutch government through the Sustainable Water Fund, Dutch parties Solidaridad, PUM and chemical company Stahl work together with several tanneries and the local government on cleaner business processes and fewer discharges into the water. This project started on July 1st 2017.
  • In the Hindon basin (the Hindon is connected via Yamuna river in Ganges), a Dutch consortium in collaboration with paper mills, municipalities, the World Bank and the state of Uttar Pradesh is working on two investment projects aimed at converting waste and waste water into energy, to sell to the government and paper mills. The clean water is returned to the paper mills, used for cooling centers, irrigation and brought into the river. The Dutch government is involved in this project through the multi-year Ganges program of "de Werkplaats". De Werkplaats is a new initiative of VNO-NCW, BZ and EZK to develop large complex programs for trade promotion and international cooperation in a public-private context at the highest level. For the Ganges program that is so focused on water and waste, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is closely involved.
  • Water projects have also been started outside the Ganges since the MoU in 2017. For example, the "Water as a leverage for Resilient Cities Asia" program. Chennai is one of the three participating cities, alongside Khulna (Bangladesh) and Semarang (Indonesia). The Dutch government finances a design trajectory for these cities, in which consortia of Dutch, Indian and other parties are challenged during one year to develop innovative proposals for Urban Water projects that are embedded in the local context and with the local stakeholders. The result is infrastructural proposals that will be further developed into implementable projects with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and FMO.