By 2030, India’s urban population will reach 600 million people. For India, rapid urbanization is particularly vital to enable the country to take full advantage of the demographic dividend afforded by its young population.
As the urbanization process continues, connectivity, proximity, and diversity will accelerate knowledge diffusion, spark further innovation, and enhance productivity and employment growth.
Positive Contributions of Urbanization:
- Disguised unemployment (more workforce than required is employed) which is prevalent in agriculture in rural areas can be tackled.
- Cities provide an opportunity for people to work together on non-agricultural ventures. This includes the development of new fields of study at educational institutions and, from that, new industries.
- Demand of goods and services may increase. This would also push the production in the economy. This can add to the GDP.
- If there is a return from the urban areas back to rural areas, then it will help in flow of new knowledge, technologies etc. to the rural areas. This may add to the standards of living in rural areas.
- Per capita income may increase if the employment opportunities form a jig-saw fit with the people in need of them.
- Rapid urbanization also poses enormous challenges, from managing congestion and pollution to ensuring that growth is inclusive and equitable.
- The challenges of urbanisation include lack of prior & proper planning as well as the ineffective functioning of civic bodies and the paucity of resources for urban local bodies.
- In a bid to address these shortcomings, the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments were passed to devolve more powers and the three “Fs” funds, functions and functionaries. However, this is not happening effectively.
- ‘Housing for All’ policy should be pursued with a vigorous annual review that ranks States on the basis of performance. The Centre should also take its own National Urban Transport Policy on developing cities around mobility networks seriously.
- Urban governance policies, although mainly in the domain of the States, must be aligned with national commitments on reduction of carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement, and to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11.
- There is a need for a plan of action to achieve sustainable human settlements. It should ensure adequate shelter, water, energy, sanitation and solid waste management, along with other elements.
- There is a need for proper planning and various deficits relating to infrastructure, housing, slum upgradation ,reduce pollution, employment, education and health in urban areas need to be through public and private participation.
Urbanisation process in India is unique and needs to be planned accordingly. The pace with which population is rising and urbanising needs urgent and sustainable solutions to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth.