The Government today made public the Urban Development strategy for the next 20 years intending to give a big push to use growing urbanization for rapid economic development while at the same time committing itself to address issues of sustainable development and climate change. Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M.Venkaiah Naidu released ‘India Habitat III-National Report’ ahead of the UN Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador late this month where a global New Urban Agenda for the next 20 years is going to be adopted.
Speaking on the occasion of World Habitat Day, Naidu said “The challenge is about ensuring sustainable development while taking advantage of economic growth that results from rapid urbanization in the country. For long, urbanization has been looked at from the limited perspective of providing basic services. But our contemporary response shall be wide ranging aiming at serving larger macro-economic transformational goals together with meeting local priorities. We need to go for a big push to harness fully the potential of urbanization”.
Stating that cities need to be made efficient, productive, inclusive, safe and sustainable, he said the agenda for the next two decades proposed in the National Report will be ensuring economic growth and productivity, improving quality of life and importantly, addressing issues of inclusivity, sustainability and climate change.
Elaborating on the strategy for transforming urban India, the Minister said it will be achieved through elimination of barriers to the flow of factors of production like capital, land and labour, development of rural and urban areas in a synergetic manner adopting a ‘regional planning approach’, promoting inclusivity by ensuring urban services to all, sustainable urban planning, empowering municipalities to improve governance and deal with exclusion issues, housing for all urban poor and ensuring social justice and gender equity.
Naidu said that the outcomes of new urban agenda based on sustainable urban planning would include reducing water and electricity use by 50% from that of normal use, enabling over 60% of urban travel by public transport, generating half of power from renewable sources, promoting walking and cycling for last mile connectivity, compact and cluster urban development, promoting natural drainage patterns, reducing waste generation of all kind, promoting greenery and public places etc.
Referring to India ratifying Paris Agreement on Climate Change yesterday, he said ‘’It is an eloquent testimony of India’s commitment to sustainable development”.
Referring to the theme of this year’s Word Habitat Day of ‘Housing at Centre’, Naidu informed that under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) launched in June last year, construction of 10,10,424 houses for urban poor has been approved which is close to 10.30 lakh houses approved during the nine years of JNNURM during 2005-14. An investment of Rs.59,771 cr has been approved with Central Assistance of Rs.14,955 cr, he said.
He further said that new urban missions launched over the last two years marked a paradigm shift in the country’s approach to urban development and were aimed at promotion and development of urban human settlements as inclusive and sustainable entities.