National Urban Policy – UPSC GS1

India’s first National Urban Policy framework:
  • The Union government is set to come up with India’s first National Urban Policy framework by March this year.
  • The housing and urban affairs ministry has appointed a panel, headed by Smart City Mission Director.
  • There has never been a comprehensive national policy that spells out the country’s plan for urbanization.
  • This is because urban development is a state subject until now.
Habitat III
  • It is a bi-decennial United Nations (UN) conference on housing and sustainable urban development.
  • 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.
UN’s Sustainable Development Goals
  • Goal No. 11 of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals requires world leaders to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • As per UN estimates, urban India will have 583 million people by 2030, with an addition of 65 million to the current urban population base
Effect of India’s urbanization on world
  • 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.
  • Indian cities currently contribute 63 percent of the country’s GDP.
Tackling urbanization challenges in a different way:
  • Taking urbanization as an opportunity rather than a challenge.
  • Citizen-centric approach to align the development agenda of the cities with people’s priorities and needs.
  • 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
  • Renewed focus on integrated planning through convergence and qualitative improvements
  • Commitment to environment sustainability
  • Focus on inclusive growth
  • 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
  • Putting in place integrated urban policies consistent with principle of co-operative federalism
  • Harmonize agglomeration economies
  • Harnessing the rural-urban continuum
  • Promoting inclusive urban development
  • Recognize and actively promote the centrality of sustainability
  • Empowering municipalities and other local level institutions
  • Strengthening housing finance system
  • Provision and financing of urban infrastructure and basic services
  • Access to social justice and gender equity
  • Robust urban information system
How can a NUP help?
  • First, such a policy will outline and highlight the importance and objectives of cities
  • Second, urbanization in India is a complex issue, with the majority of city-related issues being state subjects
  • States would have to take the lead in order to make cities vibrant economic centres
  • However, there is a need to build adequate capacities at the state/urban local bodies level to prepare cities for future challenges
  • The NUP would set the common minimum agenda, involving participation of all stakeholders
  • Third, a NUP will provide a framework for states, which would be encouraged and nudged to adopt a state version of this policy

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