The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, addressed a Post Budget Webinar on the subject of ‘Urban Development with focus on planning’. It is the sixth of a series of 12 post-budget webinars organized by the government to seek ideas and suggestions for the effective implementation of the initiatives announced in the Union Budget 2023.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister lamented that only one or two planned cities were developed in the country after so many years of independence. He remarked that India’s position in the world would have been completely different if 75 planned cities had been developed in the 75 years of its independence. The Prime Minister reiterated that well-planned cities are going to be the need of the hour in the fast-paced environment of India in the 21st century. Underlining that the development of new cities and the modernization of services in the existing cities are the two main aspects of urban development, the Prime Minister highlighted the significance of urban development in every budget of the country. He informed that an incentive of Rs 15,000 crores has been declared in this year’s budget for the standards of urban development and expressed confidence that it will provide impetus to planned urbanization.
The Prime Minister reiterated the significant role of planning and governance in urban development. He pointed out that poor planning of cities or lack of proper implementation after planning can create huge challenges in the development journey of India. He stressed the need to work in a very focused way in areas of spatial planning, transport planning, and urban infrastructure. He urged the participants of the webinar to focus on three main questions about how to strengthen the urban planning ecosystem in the states, how to properly use the expertise available in the private sector in urban planning and lastly how to develop a centre of excellence that will take urban planning to a new level. He mentioned that all state governments and urban local bodies can make their contributions towards a developed nation only when they prepare planned urban areas. “Urban planning will determine the fate of our cities in Amrit Kaal and it is only well-planned cities that will determine the fate of India”, the Prime Minister remarked. He further added that our cities will also become climate-resilient and water secure only with better planning.
The Prime Minister requested the experts to come up with innovative ideas and highlighted the role that they can play in areas such as GIS-based master planning, the development of different types of planning tools, efficient human resources, and capacity building. He mentioned that their expertise will be much needed by urban local bodies thereby creating many opportunities.
The Prime Minister underlined that transport planning is an important pillar of the development of cities and the mobility of our cities should be uninterrupted. Highlighting the metro connectivity in the country before 2014, the Prime Minister pointed out that the present government has worked on metro rail in many cities and overtaken several countries in terms of metro network connectivity. He emphasized the need to strengthen the metro network and provide first and last-mile connectivity. He also mentioned that the widening of roads in cities, green mobility, elevated roads, and junction improvement have to be included as part of transport planning.
“India is making the circular economy a major basis of urban development”, the Prime Minister remarked as he noted that thousands of tonnes of municipal waste such as battery waste, electrical waste, automobile waste, tires and waste used for making compost are generated in our country every day. He informed that 75 percent of waste is being processed today compared to only 14-15 percent in 2014. He noted that the edges of India’s cities would not have been filled with mountains of garbage if this step was taken earlier. The Prime Minister underlined that work is underway to free the cities from heaps of garbage by waste processing and noted that it will open a room full of opportunities for recycling and circularity for many industries. He also urged everyone to support the startups that are doing a great job in this field. He stressed that industries should maximize the potential of waste management and informed that AMRUT 2.0 was launched for clean drinking water in cities after the success of the AMRUT scheme. The Prime Minister also emphasized planning ahead of the traditional model of water and sewage and informed that used water is being treated and sent for industrial use in some cities.
“Our new cities must be garbage-free, water secure, and climate-resilient”, the Prime Minister remarked as he highlighted the need to increase investment in urban infrastructure and planning in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. The Prime Minister underlined that our future cities should be defined on parameters such as architecture, zero discharge model, net positivity of energy, efficiency in land use, transit corridors and use of AI in public services. He also noted the need for playgrounds and paths for bicycle rides for children as part of urban planning.
“The plans and policies that the government is making should not only make life easier for the people of the cities but also help in their own development”, the Prime Minister said. He informed about the government’s commitment to spend about Rs 80,000 crores for the PM-Awas Yojana in this year’s budget and said that industries like cement, steel, paint, and furniture get a boost whenever a house is built. Throwing light on the increasing role of futuristic technology in the field of urban development, the Prime Minister urged the startups as well as the industry to think in this direction and act quickly. “We have to take advantage of the possibilities that exist, and also give rise to new possibilities. From sustainable house technology to sustainable cities, we have to find new solutions”, the Prime Minister concluded.
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