Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

National Urban Policy: Single policy for multiple states


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Urban Policy, AMRUT, PMAY-Housing for All, Swachh Bharat, Habitat III, New Urban Agenda, SDGs

Mains level: Tackling urbanization challenges in India

Panel to develop framework for a comprehensive national policy

  1. The Union government is set to come up with India’s first National Urban Policy framework by March this year
  2. The housing and urban affairs ministry has appointed a panel, headed by Smart City Mission Director
  3. The panel, expected to submit its report by March 2018, also includes all mission directors (AMRUT, PMAY-Housing for All, Swachh Bharat), and urban experts from the National Institute of Urban Research, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, and UN-Habitat (India)

Urban planning a state subject

  1. There has never been a comprehensive national policy that spells out the country’s plan for urbanization
  2. This is because urban development is a state subject until now

Habitat III

  1. It is a bi-decennial United Nations (UN) conference on housing and sustainable urban development
  2. New Urban Agenda, released at Habitat III defines what nations are expected to do towards the cause of sustainable urban development in the period 2016-30


  1. Goal No. 11 of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals requires world leaders to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  2. As per UN estimates, urban India will have 583 mn people by 2030, with an addition of 65 mn to the current urban population base

Effect of India’s urbanization on world

  1. India will account for 18-19 percent of the global increase in urban population and therefore its urban development indicators such as water supply, sanitation, garbage management etc will affect global averages
  2. Indian cities currently contribute 63 percent of the country’s GDP

Paradigm shift in tackling urbanization challenges

  1. Taking urbanization as an opportunity rather than a challenge
  2. Citizen-centric approach to align the development agenda of the cities with people’s priorities and needs
  3. Cooperative federalism: Freedom and resources to states/urban local bodies (ULBs) to design and implement
    Focus on infrastructure that leads to delivery of services to citizens
  4. Renewed focus on integrated planning through convergence and qualitative improvements
  5. Commitment to environment sustainability
  6. Focus on inclusive growth
  7. Technology to enhance efficiency of services delivery

India’s vision of urbanization

It lays down 10 broad levers to make cities work towards greater efficiency, inclusion, sustainability, and safety

  1. Putting in place integrated urban policies consistent with principle of co-operative federalism
  2. Harmonise agglomeration economies
  3. Harnessing the rural-urban continuum
  4. Promoting inclusive urban development
  5. Recognise and actively promote the centrality of sustainability
  6. Empowering municipalities and other local level institutions
  7. Strengthening housing finance system
  8. Provision and financing of urban infrastructure and basic services
  9. Access to social justice and gender equity
  10. Robust urban information system
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