New Delhi– Stressing the need to go for a big push to fully realise the benefits of urbanisation, the government of India on Monday unveiled its urban development strategy for the next 20 years.

Union Minister for Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M. Venkaiah Naidu released the “India Habitat III – National Report”, ahead of the UN Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador, slated for later this month. A global “New Urban Agenda” for the next 20 years is likely to be adopted at the conference.

M. Venkaiah Naidu
M. Venkaiah Naidu

Speaking at the launch ceremony in Vigyan Bhavan here, Naidu on Monday said: “The agenda for the next two decades proposed in the national report will be ensuring economic growth and productivity, improving quality of life, and importantly, addressing issues of inclusivity, sustainability and climate change.”

The challenge is about ensuring sustainable development while taking advantage of economic growth that results from rapid urbanisation in the country, he said.

“For long, urbanisation has been looked at from the limited perspective of providing basic services. But our contemporary response shall be wide ranging, aiming at serving larger macro-economic transformational goals together with meeting local priorities. We need to go for a big push to harness fully the potential of urbanisation,” said Naidu.

Elaborating on the strategy for transforming urban India, the minister said it would be achieved through elimination of barriers to the flow of factors of production, like capital, land and labour, and development of rural and urban areas, in a synergetic manner.

The minister said that the outcomes of new urban agenda based on sustainable urban planning would include reducing water and electricity use by 50 per cent from that of normal use, enabling over 60 per cent of urban travel by public transport, generating half of power from renewable sources, and compact and cluster urban development, among others.

“It’s an eloquent testimony of India’s commitment to sustainable development,” said Naidu on India ratifying the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on Sunday.

Naidu also announced that under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), construction of 10,10,424 houses for urban poor has been approved.

“An investment of Rs.59,771 crore has been approved with the central assistance of Rs.14,955 crore,” he added.