NITI Aayog on Thursday (16 September) launched a report on measures to ramp up urban planning capacity in India.
The report, titled ‘Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India’, was released by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar, CEO Amitabh Kant and Special Secretary Dr K Rajeswara Rao.
NITI Aayog has developed the report in consultation with concerned ministries and eminent experts in urban and regional planning. It presents a condensed outcome of the extensive deliberations and consultations conducted for nine months.
“Issues like lack of availability of serviced land, traffic congestion, pressure on basic infrastructure, extreme air pollution, urban flooding, water scarcity and droughts are not merely a reflection of infrastructural shortcomings in the cities. These issues indicate a deep and substantial lack of adequate urban planning and governance frameworks,” the report states.
“Urban planning is the foundation for integrated development of cities, citizens, and the environment. Unfortunately, it has not received due attention so far. The existing urban planning and governance framework is complex, which often leads to ambiguity and lack of accountability,” it added.
The report makes several recommendations that can unblock bottlenecks in India’s value chain of urban planning capacity.
The report recommends a Central Sector Scheme, ‘500 Healthy Cities Programme’, for five years, wherein priority cities and towns would be selected jointly by the states and local bodies to strengthen development control regulations based on scientific evidence to maximize the efficiency of urban land.
Besides ramping up human resources to combat the shortage of urban planners in the public sector, the report recommends more citizens and the private sector involvement in the planning process.