Having set an ambitious target of providing basic civic services like water supply, sewerage, sanitation and public transport to the entire urban population of the country during the next five years, the Union Urban Development Ministry has prepared a Rs 2,60,000 crore plan for the purpose.
With about 36 per cent of India's population living in cities and towns, the key element of the government's urban development strategy is to achieve inclusive growth by providing access to basic facilities and services to all citizens in urban areas.
As per the target set for the 11th five year plan (2007-12) , a total of Rs 1,27,025 crore will be required for provision of water supply, sewerage, sanitation and solid waste management in urban areas. According to Urban Development Secretary M Ramachandran, funds worth Rs 40,000 crore will be provided to states through the Centre's Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission ( JNNURM ) while the rest Rs 87,000 crore will be raised from institutional financing and other external sources.
For improving the urban transport services in metros and major cities, an estimated
Rs 1,32,590 crore will be needed during the 11th plan period., the official stated.
With more and more people migrating from rural areas to cities, India is witnessing a boom in urban population with increasing concentration in Class I cities which have a population of one lakh and above. The number of metro cities increased from 23 in 1991 to 35 in 2001, Ramachandran pointed out. The total number of towns stood at 5,161.
During the next two to three decades, half of the country's population is expected to be living in urban centers and contributing to as much as 75 per cent of the total GDP.
In view of this, the Ministry is now thinking of formulating a long-term national urbanisation policy for coping with the situation where a massive strain will be imposed on the civic infrastructure of the cities. For this purpose, it is contemplating setting up a commission of experts to frame guidelines and recommendations for states and urban local bodies, Ramachandran said.