The current urban planning capacities in India are extremely skeletal and need systematic reforms and a change in mindset. Discuss.
Currently, approximately 30% of the Indian population lives in urban spaces. This is set to increase exponentially in the coming years.
Challenges posed by rapid and unchecked urbanization:
- Unplanned urbanization has led to a problem of unhygienic and unsanitary living.
- It has increased disaster vulnerabilities like flash floods, droughts, etc.
- According to water risk filter report, 30 Indian cities are set to face a water crisis very soon.
- Increasing of slums and jhuggi jhopadi colonies.
- Problems linked with electricity, mobility, pollution, waste management, etc.
Extremely skeletal urban planning in India:
- Housing availability – Demand for houses remains always higher than availability. Migrants are forced to live in the streets and slums.
- Disaster vulnerability – Absence of separate drainage pipelines and stormwater pipelines.
- Waste management and recycling plans – despite increased recycling of waste, landfills, and incineration dominate the methods involved.
- Toilet facility maintenance remains abysmal even after Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
- Tap water is not available to everyone.
- Skewed attention to the rejuvenation of urban water bodies, flood zones, and wetlands.
- Transportation and mobility plans remain delayed and do not emphasize on pollution-free and cost-effective models.
Urban planning requires systematic reforms:
- Housing – slum rehabilitation under AMRUT mission.
- Immediate focus on increasing water use efficiency, ecozones development, and drinking water availability under Jal Jeevan Mission.
- Ground-level and community-led implementation of swachh Bharat mission 2.0 for making 100% of cities open defecation free.
- Ecosystem restorative planning, implementation of Nagar Van schemes, urban Forestry, etc.
Urban planning requires a change in mindset:
- Community and civil society engagement to develop a sense of ownership and responsibility is the need of the hour.
- Improving people’s perception of urban governance needs to be also improved.
Using tools to improve social accountability via social audits, citizen’s report cards, etc can go a long way to improve urban planning outcomes.