New Delhi–Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday stressed on India’s need to urbanise rapidly in the next two decades in line with its present development in order to relieve the pressure on agriculture.

“In the next two decades, India will have to go for rapid urbanisation, in line with what we see already — the growth of satellite towns, of suburbanisation around metros, etc,” Jaitley said.

The Minister was addressing the ADB-Asian Think Tank Development Forum here on sustainable urbanisation organised by the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, ADB and ICRIER.

“Urbanisation is inevitable to relieve agriculture from the number of people still living off the land. Urban India is now 31 per cent of the country’s population..urban centres have become engines of growth in the states,” he added.

Jaitley mentioned Bengaluru and Gurgaon as two rapidly developing centres in recent times.

He noted the hitherto “unorganised construction” involved in this urbanisation process and stressed on the need for more “participation of organised construction to create organised townships.”

Asking, “Are we ready for this massive urbanisation in terms of infrastructure like water, transport, roads and sanitation,” Jaitley said that more resources were likely to be given to the states under the Smart Cities initiative.

“The Smart City initiative has prompted substantial competition among cities, themselves organised around the basis of objective criteria. More resources are soon likely to be given to the cities,” Jaitley said.

“The Swachch Bharat — Clean India campaign will be integral to the urbanisation process,” he added.