For over two decades, India has been among the world’s fastest-growing economies, and it hopes to be among the top three largest economies by 2047, the country’s 100th year of independence.
India’s cities play a critical role in the country’s economic growth.

Cities are India’s economic engine and a draw for a large rural population looking for a better life. A number of programs aimed primarily at the development of cities and urban populations have been introduced in recent years.

However, when it comes to initiatives for developing cities, the outcomes have been disappointing. Poor planning, infrastructure flaws, and the hardships of the poor are the main reasons behind these ULBs.

Urban Development in India –

  • Pace of Urbanisation: The National Commission on Population anticipated in 2019 that India\’s population will rise from 1,211 million to 1,518 million between 2011 and 2036, according to the National Commission on Population. Over 73 percent of the population increase is predicted to come from urbanisation.
  • India is expected to be 50% urbanised by 2050, according to the United Nations.
  • Urban India\’s Economic Contribution: Cities make up just approximately 3% of the country\’s territory yet account for over 70% of GDP, showing a high level of economic production.
  • Government Urban Development Projects: The government has launched a number of initiatives to give basic facilities to every family while also allowing technology to tackle urban concerns. Here are a few examples:
  • Urban Development-Related Schemes/Programs:
  • Cities that are smart
  • Mission AMRUT
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban • Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban
  • Slum Dwellers/Urban Poor Government Initiatives:
  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana)
  • Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan) (self-reliant India)

Challenges to Development of Cities :-

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  • City-Centric Issues: Several city-centric concerns, such as air pollution, urban floods, and droughts, exist as roadblocks to the holistic development of urban India, all of which point to infrastructural deficiencies and poor planning.
  • Land-use choices are frequently made without a thorough empirical evaluation of the effects, causing local ecology and, as a result, economic disruption.
  • Erroneous Urban Area Classification: In India, determining what is \”urban\” and what is \”rural\” is a fundamental difficulty.
  • Nearly half of the 7,933 towns classified as urban have the status of Census towns 3 and are still managed as rural entities, adding to the risk of uncontrolled urbanisation.
  • Statutory Towns\’ Unplanned Growth: Even those metropolitan communities designated as \”statutory towns\” do not always expand in a planned manner. In India, almost 52% of statutory towns lack any form of master plan.
  • The majority of projected development is concentrated in urban areas (Class 1 towns).
  • The small and medium-sized towns (Class 2, 3, and 4) that account for 26% of the total population and require at least equal, if not more, attention remain underserved.
  • Issues Facing Urban Local Bodies: ULBs lack a solid understanding of the value of their assets.
  • A widespread problem is ULBs\’ insufficient capacity to use creative solutions to overcome their budgetary constraints.
  • In terms of rates and coverage, they likewise fall short of collecting enough property taxes.
  • Urban Transportation Problems: India\’s bus-to-population ratio is only 1.2 per 1,000 people, compared to 8.6 in Thailand and 6.5 in South Africa.
  • State governments, which still have effective influence over urban development, have failed to put the umbrella agencies in place to oversee transportation.
  • The current paradigm renders metro and bus services too expensive for the majority of people, especially those compelled to reside in the suburbs owing to rising housing costs.

Way Forward :-

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  • Integration for Inclusive Urban Development: Greater ambition necessitates collaboration between the federal government and state governments to integrate key areas with the transportation vision, such as affordable inner-city housing, including rental projects, access to civic services and health care, and improved sustainability, greenery, and walkability.
  • Central budgeting strategies for cities encompass all of this. Only integration can lead to a more inclusive urban environment.
  • Rethinking City Development Methodologies: To meet the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN\’s New Urban Agenda, India\’s government must examine, rethink, and reconfigure the way it plans and governs the country\’s settlements and the networks that connect them.
  • Cities must be considered as marketplaces, melting pots of many cultures, and job creators.
  • Overcoming Planning and Infrastructure Gaps: The country\’s capacities must be built so that cities may reap the benefits of urbanisation and provide the economic momentum required to establish a $5-trillion economy.
  • Many cycles in urban planning, management, and finance must be broken and filled in this spirit.
  • These structures should also be erected on top of a cost-effective public transportation system that provides last-mile connection.
  • The role of startups and technology: Domestic private sector enterprises that understand the organic development and 5 culture of urban India must be nurtured and fostered so that Indian brains may generate answers for India.
  • Startups must be coached and encouraged to bridge the gap between innovations with caution.
  • Citizen Involvement: Citizens must be made stakeholders in city planning by making information about urban planning procedures available to them and their elected officials.
  • City officials must be educated and informed of ways to make communities more livable and inclusive.
  • Role of State Governments: State governments must adopt a \”state urbanisation plan\” that weaves together the imperatives of all sectoral policies, from industry and tourism to agriculture and the environment.
  • Coherence between spatial and economic policy will remain elusive unless this integration occurs.

Conclusion :-

Cities are always changing; they are not just engines of economic progress, but also magnets for global information exchange and innovation playgrounds. However, in order for them to achieve their goals, it is necessary to rethink city planning, which includes elements such as land use, housing, and transportation.