Urbanisation and Economic Growth:
- There are strong correlations between urbanisation and economic growth.
- Urbanisation could generate millions of jobs for the growing youth population.
- Productivity increases when rural farmers become urban factory workers, as has happened most spectacularly in China.
- Between 1978 and 2018, China’s urbanisation rate jumped up from 18% to 58%.
- In the process, over 500 million people were lifted out of poverty and the country attained middle income status.
- India’s present level of urbanisation (34%) is far lower than China (58%) or even Indonesia (55%).
- Naturally, there is huge scope for growth.
Drawbacks of Current model of urbanization:
- The new Indian urban landscape is being designed around grand concepts such as smart cities and export-oriented industrial corridors.
- Cities are built mostly on economic terms without considering or less importance to cultural and recreational aspects of human beings.
- The cities do not cater for environmental disasters.
- Currently, India’s ongoing urbanisation offers little opportunity for inclusion of its disadvantaged populations.
- There is a growing phenomenon of ‘sons of soil’ or ‘outsider’ based abuse.
- Politicisation of India’s urban spaces — often for so-called ‘vote-bank populism’ — is creating exclusionary barriers for new migrants.
- Multiple jurisdictions, weak revenue base and human resource capacity deficit.
- Since majority of city-related issues are state subjects, states must take the lead in order to make cities vibrant economic centres.
- Sustainable urban development needs to be led by the central government working closely with state and local governments.
- For effective implementation of the urbanisation roadmap, the Centre should take the lead to sensitise states and encourage them to frame their own urban policies.
- The state policies could then be plugged into the overarching national framework.
- Urban population explosion has come with its own set of evils.
- Metros like Bengaluru, once known for its expansive lakes, are set to face extreme water stress in the future.
- Lakes are encroached for illegal buildings like high rise apartments, commercial building, and slum.
- Cities are flooded during monsoon and after that we see a period of drought.
- The environment has been the casualty.
- Noise Pollution, Air Pollution and Water Scarcity.
- Environmental pollution caused by daily hour-long traffic jams on a 10-km stretch causes more harm to the environment.
- Long term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) contributed to 42 lakh premature deaths in 2015 in the whole world out of which India and China together shared 52%.
- Water scarcity has often led to riots among common people in slums and undeveloped colonies where population density is very high.
- Recent study found that adults living in urban areas, as well as those with a higher household wealth or education, tended to have a higher Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) risk.
- In Indian cities, there is lack of basic infrastructure and a deteriorating quality of life.
- India spends about $17 per capita annually on urban infrastructure projects, against a global benchmark of $100 and China’s $116.
- Indian cities face challenges in terms of governance and sustainability.
- The poverty and social isolation of minority groups in cities.
- With rapid urbanization, these problems are going to aggravate, and can cumulatively pose a challenge to India’s growth trajectory.
- Urban institutions also suffer from shortage of skilled people.
- Poor collection of property taxes. Jaipur and Bengaluru collect only 5-20% of their potential property tax.
- In the budget, 2014, it was projected for ‘one hundred Smart cities’, as satellite towns of larger cities and modernizing the existing mid- sized cities. Though there is no clear definition of smart cities, it may include creative, cyber, digital, e-governed, entrepreneurial, intelligent, knowledge, harnessing the power of Information and communication technology (ICT). Smartness has to be there with respect to governance and service delivery.
Its feature can be :-
e-governance (through Digital India initiative, National e-governance plan, National Optical fiber network, e- panchayat project of MRD)
- Continuous improvements in design and management
- Climate oriented development
- Mass transit oriented development
- People centric technological applications (m-health, e- learning )
- Planning can be bottom up for future urbanization
- Smart PDS rationing
- Social inclusive and economically diverse.
Creating Urban Infrastructure:
- Not creating essential urban infrastructure will lead to a deteriorating quality of life.
- With large-scale migration to the cities, we must focus on making our cities economically viable and environmentally sustainable.
- Investing in our urban infrastructure will lead to enhanced economic activity.
- It will result in large-scale employment generation and an improved quality of life.
- This is a much-desired socioeconomic outcome in a young nation where the majority of urban migrants are youth.
- We also need to work hard to ensure that our urban infrastructure causes least harm to the environment.