Our cities are not equipped to handle the surge in population
In recent decades, India has experienced massive urbanisation and population increase, making it the second-largest urban system in the world.
But our cities are not equipped to handle the surge in population. It is high time to ensure that urban infrastructure and services keep pace with this rapid transformation.
Indian cities lag behind in developing City Master Plans, which is an issue of significant concern. A city Master Plan is an institutional instrument for better city planning and development.
Also read: World Cities Day: Clock ticking for India’s urban areas; act now, say experts
Nearly 65 per cent of Indian cities are devoid of Local Area Plans, Zonal Plans and Master Plans.
Lack of such a plan results in unplanned city transportation, traffic, uncontrolled development, flood, poor drainage network alignment, poor monitoring, etc.
It also makes the residents suffer severe consequences and environmental challenges such as air pollution, poor water supply, lack of green covers, etc.
India will surpass China’s population by 2027, given the current population growth rate, according to the United Nations.
The country will need 300,000 urban planners by 2023. Every year, 1,800 urban planning graduates pass out from 49 institutes, including the School of planning and Architecture Bhopal, New Delhi and Vijayawada.
The number of seats has to be scaled up considerably to fill this demand-supply gap.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the Union Budget 2022-23, stressed the importance of urban planning. The minister also announced the government’s decision to set up a high-level panel of urban planners.
This may open the door for the well-planned development of Indian cities.
Also read: Bengaluru, Lucknow flooding: What do we mean by water-sensitive cities?
No Indian cities were featured in the top 50 global ranking ones, according to NITI ayog.
We, Indians, have a rich history of magnificent town planning. Until 1800, many believed that the world did not have a structured drainage system. But the discovery of Indus Valley sites proved otherwise.
Some 5,000 years ago, ancient India had high levels of sophistication in town planning and civil engineering and the western world acknowledged the same.
We can see a superior level of thinking and town planning in ancient buildings and monuments of India.
Urban or town planning refers to the technique of planning any area in terms of social, environmental, economic, natural settings and local people, etc.
It also gives a sense of local infrastructure’s design, development and uses when setting up a settlement or community. This planning focuses on aspects like accessibility, transportation, communication, utility and distribution networks of various services.
Here are some suggestions to ensure planned cities and make them more livable:
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi-based non-profit, has also suggested local bodies run time-to-time campaigns to address unregulated urban development. These campaigns should ensure the participation of local communities.
The 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 also empowered local governments to perform 18 functions and town planning is one among them.
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