Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Challenges posed by Urbanization in India.


By 2030, 40% of the India will live in urban areas, compared to 30% today. Indian cities are already reeling under an acute shortage of infrastructure with quality of living far below basic standards of living. Per capita water supply is 105 liters per day, compared to a basic service standard of 150 liters, per capita parks and open space is 2.7 square meters, compared to the basic service standard of 9 square meters. 

Overcrowding of Indian cities is likely to put massive strain on the already stretched infrastructure of cities, adversely affecting their economic growth. Slums now account for 1/4 of all urban housing. In Mumbai, more than half the population lives in slums, many of which are situated near employment centers in the heart of town, unlike in most other cities in developing countries. Unless addressed immediately, shortage of quality housing is likely to snowball into being one of the key impediments to India’s economic progress in the 21st century. 

The current pace of investment in infrastructure will not be able to cope with the urbanization. As per a McKinsey study, India’s annual capital infrastructure spending is $17 compared to China’s $116 and United Kingdom's $391. To meet the needs of the swelling population by 2030, India will need to increase infrastructure investment to $134 per capita per annum or roughly $90 billion annually. Else, economic vitality of Indian cities will be severely undermined. 

Proper urban planning and governance that comprehensively address housing, transportation, infrastructure and economic development is critical to meeting the nation’s 2030 outlook. 

Can development of housing townships address India’s urbanisation challenge?

By 2030, many Indian cities will become larger than many countries today in terms of both population and GDP. Most of them are already severely overburdened and struggling to provide even basic services. For instance, Mumbai Metropolitan Region’s GDP is projected to reach $265 billion by 2030, larger than the GDP of many countries today, including Portugal, Colombia, and Malaysia. However, a quarter of its population lives in slums. 

Existing cities can absorb only a small proportion of the growth due to over stressed services and paucity of land. In India, incentivizing the development of satellite cities could be one of the key measures to meet the spiraling demand for housing while maintaining quality of life. It will unlock many new growth markets such as infrastructure, transportation, health care, education, and recreation. 

The National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy 2007 is a step in the right direction. It proposed a multi-pronged approach to address housing in the country and a key element of the plan is to develop new integrated green-field townships located at a reasonable distance from medium or large existing towns with development of mass rapid transport corridors between them so that the relationship between industry and commerce is developed to an optimum level leading to a holistic economic growth of these new integrated townships. Multiple satellite towns around Tier I and II cities to support an economic hub have proven to be a success across the globe; and India can replicate their success

Amanora Township, Life republic, Magarpatta City, Nanded City Pune, Blueridge are some of the inspiring examples so such townships in Pune.

Nanded City Pune

Paranjpee Blue Ridge

Life Republic

Amanora Park Town

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