India’s future strategy for urban development intends to tap into the potential of rapid urbanisation for economic development, while at the same time addressing issues of sustainable development and climate change, announced Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister, M Venkaiah Naidu.
Naidu released the India Habitat III-National Report on World Habitat Day on October 3, 2016, ahead of the UN Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador later this month, where a new global urban agenda for the next 20 years, will be adopted. “The challenge is about ensuring sustainable development, while taking advantage of economic growth that results from rapid urbanisation in the country. For long, urbanisation has been looked at, from the limited perspective of providing basic services. We need to go for a big push, to harness the full potential of urbanisation,” he said.
Stating that cities need to be made efficient, productive, inclusive, safe and sustainable, he said the agenda for the next two decades, proposed in the national report, will be ensuring economic growth and productivity, improving quality of life, addressing issues of inclusivity, sustainability and climate change. The minister said that the outcomes of the new urban agenda based on sustainable urban planning, would include reducing water and electricity use by 50% from that of normal use, enabling over 60% of urban travel by public transport, generating half of the power from renewable sources and promoting walking and cycling for last mile connectivity.
Promoting natural drainage patterns, reducing waste generation of all kinds and promoting greenery, are also part of the government’s agenda for sustainable urban development, he said.
On India ratifying the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Naidu said, “It is an eloquent testimony of India’s commitment to sustainable development.” Referring to the theme of this year’s World Habitat Day of ‘Housing at Centre’, Naidu said that under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) launched in June last year, construction of over 10 lakh houses for the urban poor has been approved, which is close to the number of houses approved during the nine years of JNNURM during the previous regime.