New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday emphasised the importance of urban planning, saying that it was only “well-planned cities that will determine the fate of India”.
Addressing a post-Budget webinar on the subject of urban development, Modi said well-planned cities were the need of the hour in the 21st century. He said the poor planning of cities or implementation of plans may lead to huge challenges in the development of the country.
The prime minister asked the stakeholders to focus on three questions—how to improve states’ urban planning ecosystem, how to use the expertise available in the private sector, and how to develop centres of excellence for urban planning. He also asked the participants to work with start-ups in the sector.
“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,” Modi said, addressing the virtual gathering that included Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Puri, Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav, Social Justice Minister Virendra Kumar and Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Shekhawat.
In the sixth of the 12 such post-Budget webinars, the prime minister asked the stakeholders, which included mayors, municipal councillors, sanitation workers, and academics, to come up with ideas to improve urban planning practices in cities. He said it was unfortunate that only one or two cities had been developed in a planned manner after Independence and that India would have looked different today had developed 75 planned cities been developed in the 75 years of Independence.
“Our new cities must be garbage-free, water secure, and climate-resilient…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,” he said.
He said the circular economy would be the basis of urban development, with large quantities of batteries, electronics, automobile parts and tyres being discarded along with municipal solid waste every day. He said the country’s waste processing had increased from 14 to 15 per cent of the waste created daily in 2014 to 75 per cent now. If this had been done earlier, the outskirts of India’s cities would not be homes to mountains of garbage, he said.
The Budget for 2023-2024 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on February 1 included the announcement of an Urban Infrastructure Development Fund of Rs 10,000 crore per year for infrastructure in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.