India Urbanising at a rapid pace

The rapid rate of urbanisation in India calls for radical changes in policy making, governance: ASSOCHAM

More than 59 crore Indians will be living in cities by 2030 as the country’s population increases from 120 crore to 147 crore, industry body ASSOCHAM said last week while cautioning that the economic growth story could be at risk unless higher budget allocations are combined with right policies and timely implementation to improve civic amenities and infrastructure.

An estimated 50 to 60 per cent of people in large cities are living in urban slums without proper civic amenities. Authorities should put added emphasis on quality and efficiency in health and education sectors through public private partnership (PPP) model to control rising population and streamline economic growth, said ASSOCHAM.

report on urban infrastructure services india 2011

The number of cities with over 10 lakh people will increase from 48 to 68 in the next two decades, said secretary general D.S. Rawat. “The number of cities with population of 40 lakh and above will increase from 7 to 13 by 2030. The subsequent growth explosion these cities will account for almost 70 per cent of India’s GDP.”

The government must strengthen food security to support this dynamic growth through inclusive development process across the country, he said. “It needs to play the role of an enabler to address loopholes in different systems, institutions at various levels of governance, thereby strengthening the public delivery mechanism.”

The fast pace of India’s growth has increased stress level on physical infrastructure like roads, ports, electricity, airports, irrigation facilities, sanitation and railways with all these sectors reeling under substantial capacity deficit.

India needs to generate almost 20 million jobs per year to eradicate unemployment. With 60 per cent of workforce engaged in agriculture and allied activities, efforts should be made to impart vocational training to enhance farming skills among the sizeable rural workforce.

A large scale investment in human resources is imperative to cash in on the huge availability of physical capital and to achieve sustainable inclusive growth. Poverty alleviation and social development programmes must be implemented with a concrete mechanism, said Mr Rawat.

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