A clean, green future for Indian cities


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: AMRUT, SBM

Mains level: Paper 2- Clean and green future of Indian cities

This year, the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is being launched, building towards the goals of this decade. In light of this, the article highlights the mitigating potentials of various missions undertaken by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

A networked approach to achieving the SDG

  • The delicate balance between sustainable development and environmental protection is one of the core targets of the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
  • A networked approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals has been included in India’s policy and political discourse.
  • The motto of the 2030 agenda — “Leave no one behind” — very much embodies the essence of Gandhiji’s philosophy of sarvodaya through antyodaya.
  •  This guiding principle has long been a part of the execution of the national programmes and missions of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).

Achieving SDGs through flagship missions of MoHUA

  • In 2014 the Swachhata movement was launched.
  • It was, in effect, the harbinger of a total transformation of our urban landscape.
  • In June 2015, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched flagship mission — Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and the Smart Cities Mission.
  • The SDGs are reflected in the core objectives of these missions.
  • They have achieved their set targets while ensuring that sustainable development is a non-negotiable part of them.

Ensuring sustainable development

1) Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban)

  • It focuses on achieving an open-defecation-free India, building solid waste management capacity and bringing about behavioural change.
  • Cooperative and competitive federalism have become the driving force behind this citizen-led jan andolan.
  • It is estimated that the various initiatives under SBM-U can mitigate 17.42 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2022.

2) Smart Cities Mission

  • The Smart Cities Mission is aiding technological advancements of our cities to improve governance, sustainability and disaster risk resilience.
  • Smart solutions are being implemented to improve energy efficiency and non-motorised transport capacity in urban centres.
  • The Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework has been adopted which aims to help cities adapt, collaborate and exchange best practices to achieve international standards for green, sustainable and resilient urban habitats.


  • Under AMRUT, water supply and management, energy efficiency and increased green spaces have been part of the goal in 500 target cities.
  • As of today, 1,831 parks over 3,700 acres have been developed, 85 lakh street lights have been replaced, resulting in energy saving of 185.33 crore units (kWh), and 106 water bodies have been rejuvenated.
  • The mission is likely to result in the mitigation of 48.52 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent of GHG emissions by 2022.

4) Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban)

  • With 1.12 crore houses sanctioned, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) has focused on new construction technologies that are innovative, environmentally friendly and disaster-resilien.
  • The Prime Minister launched six Light House Projects on January 1, 2021.
  • These are already under construction.
  • Additionally, about 43.3 lakh houses are being constructed where fly ash bricks/blocks and concrete blocks are being used.
  • Overall, the mission has the potential to mitigate around 12 million tonnes CO2 equivalent of GHG emissions by 2022.

5) Metro rail

  • An energy-efficient mass rapid transit system, is operational in 18 cities with over 720 km of line constructed.
  • Another 1,055 km of new lines is under construction in 27 cities.
  • This network is expected to mitigate around 21.58 million tonnes of CO2 eq GHG from 2015-2022.
  • Cumulatively, the national missions under the MoHUA are projected to mitigate GHG emissions equivalent to more than 93 million tonnes of CO2 by 2022.


A progressive track of urban development while keeping sustainability, disaster risk resilience and community building at its core has been the guiding principle of the government. It will help us preserve our environment, restore ecosystems and mitigate the risks posed by climate change in the coming decade.

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