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.

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