In this New Indian Express article, Shankkar Aiyar, Visiting Fellow, IDFC Institute talks about the key issues in urban governance that plague Indian cities, using the backdrop of the recent flash floods that brought life in the country's financial capital to a grinding halt. He laments at the state of policy where little attention is given to cities that can potentially drive growth in the country in a big way. Key excerpts from the article can be read below.
"India’s urbanisation functions on default mode. It is a textbook on how to kill cities, a primer for unsmart policies. Cities are expanding in an amoebic fashion. Most urbanisation in India is ratification or retrofitting of unplanned expansion —where opportunity meets capital to fund construction with scant regard to past tragedies or vulnerabilities of the future. India has 53 urban agglomerations with a million plus population. Even by official estimates, which are grossly understated thanks to conveniently archaic definitions, over 377 million persons live in urban India. The reality is that India is far more urbanised—a fact studies by the IDFC Institute have underlined, and which has been emphasised by the Economic Survey. The fact is over half of India is urbanised—by design and by default."
He concludes his article on a hopeful note, highlighting the opportunity urbanisation presents to India to realise its growth potential.
"The state of urban decay affords an economic opportunity. ......India’s GDP was sliding rather secularly from 9-plus per cent to 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of this financial year. The need for investments to create jobs, fuel consumption and spur growth is real. Investing in urbanisation, in the idea of creating new cities, can and will deliver returns.
Read full text of the article here