Give an outline of a National Urban Policy of India to act as a solution to various urban problems.

Published: April 21, 2018

India is witnessing a rapid phase of urbanisation. The urbanisation needs to be sustainable needs a policy direction. National urban policy must integrate multidimensional factors like inclusive growth; infra finance system and robust urban information system.
India has to move from a ‘business-as-usual approach’ to paying systematic attention to urbanisation and its challenges. The requires national urban policy to provide for paradigm changes to address the challenges of urbanisation which include

  • Taking urbanisation as an opportunity rather than a challenge by formulating a
    Citizen-centric approach to align the development agenda of the cities with people’s priorities and needs
  • Cooperative federalism, Freedom and resources to states/urban local bodies (ULBs) to design and implement
  • Focus on infrastructure that leads to delivery of services to citizens.
    Renewed focus on integrated planning through convergence and qualitative improvements
  • Commitment to environment sustainability.
  • Focus on inclusive growth
  • Technology to enhance efficiency of services delivery

The urban policy must concentrate on these levers to make cities work towards greater efficiency, inclusion, sustainability and safety.

  • Putting in place integrated urban policies consistent with principle of co-operative federalism
  • Harmonise agglomeration economies
  • Harnessing the rural-urban continuum
  • Promoting inclusive urban development
  • Recognise and actively promote the centrality of sustainability
  • Empowering municipalities and other local level institutions
  • Strengthening housing finance system
  • Provision and financing of urban infrastructure and basic services
  • Access to social justice and gender equity
  • Robust urban information system

Goal No. 11 of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals requires world leaders to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. As per UN estimates, urban India will have 583 mn people by 2030, with an addition of 65 mn to the current urban population base. India will account for 18-19 per cent of the global increase in urban population and therefore its urban development indicators such as water supply, sanitation, garbage management etc will affect global averages. Also, Indian cities currently contribute 63 per cent of the country’s GDP which is lower than the share of cities in most countries. Hence a new urban policy must together with effectively addressing the challenges must strive to make cities work towards greater efficiency, inclusion, sustainability and safety.

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