India needs smart urbanisation

India needs smart urbanisation

Article:

  1. Feroz Varun Gandhi, Politician, highlighted the need  for smart urbanisation

Important Analysis:

  1. 2. Over 34% of India’s current population lives in urban areas, rising by 3% since 2011.
  2. Smaller clusters have risen (from 34 to 50 clusters with 10-15 lakh population).
  3. According to one estimate, India’s urban population could increase to 814 million by 2050.
  4. Urban cities are facing following challenges on ‘smart cities’ front:-
  • Poverty and poor infrastructure
  • Poor urban planning
  • Increasing population led to increasing demands for basic services.
  • Over 90 ‘smart cities’ have identified 2,864 projects, India lags on implemention, with about 148 projects completed.
  • Shortage of affordable house despite government initiative.
  • Instances of floods in Mumbai, dengue in Delhi, lakes on fire in Bengaluru presents a worst picture.
  • Slow work on the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project and the bullet train.
  • Low level of urban infrastructure investment and capacity building.
  • India spends about $17 per capita annually on urban infrastructure projects, against a global benchmark of $100 and China’s $116.
  • Various government schemes like Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission not implemented properly.
  • Urban institutions also suffer from a shortage of skilled people.
  1. There is also differences on definition of Urban between state and central government
  2. In state the Governor notifies an area as urban based on the following parameters:
  • Population
  • Density
  • Revenue generated for the local administration
  1. The central government considers a settlement as urban in following cases:-
  • If it has an urban local government
  • Minimum population of 5,000
  • Over 75% of its (male) population working in non-agriculture activities.
  • Population density of atleast 400 per sq.km.
  • Many states consider such “census towns” as rural, and to establish governance through a rural local government or panchayat.
  1. However, many States consider such “census towns” as rural, and establish governance through a rural local government or panchayat.
  2. Solutions:
  • Needs systematic policy to deal with urban migration.
  • Internal migration in India helps in reducing poverty or prevents households from slipping into it.
  • Lowering the cost of migration, along with eliminating discrimination against migrants, while protecting their rights.
  • Revitalizing cities such as Meerut, building transport links and connectivity.
  • Urban policy makers also need to be cognizant of the historical context for urban development.
  • The creation of hill stations in northern India and the advent of the plantation economy, along with industrial township transformal trading networks.
  • The creation of cantonment and civil lines areas, along with railway stations in major cities led to the haphazard growth of urban areas.
  • Need different model of urbanization.
  • Need to empower cities, with focus on land policy reforms, granting urban local bodies the freedom to raise financing and enforce local land usage norms.
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