Experts: For sustainable development, Delhi-NCR needs a regional economic strategy before a master plan
New Delhi: For sustainable development of Delhi-NCR, many urban development experts feel that there is a need to prepare a regional economic development plan before finalising the master plan.
While presenting an analysis of the economic geography study of Delhi-NCR at Connect Karo-2021, World Resources Institute-India (WRI-India) experts also called for identification of economic sectors that will continue to be competitive in the next 10-15 years in the Capital. As per WRI-India’s analysis, rapid growth has happened in NCR areas such as Faridabad, Hapur, Greater Noida, Manesar etc, in the last decade.
Hindustan Times is the media partner of the event.
Noting that Delhi-NCR generates about 8% of the country’s GDP, with automobile, metal, textile, footwear, rubber and plastic, electric equipment industries, wholesale trade, etc, being the significant industries or economic sectors, Madhav Pai, executive director of WRI India Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities, said, “There has been a negative growth in employment in Delhi between the 5th and 6th economic Census.”
With the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) finalising the Master Plan of Delhi-2041 and the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) preparing the draft Regional Plan-2041, experts said an economic strategy should be planned first before fixing the master plans, which are largely land use plans.
“Identify top economic sectors, understand the demography, impact of climate change, and develop a regional economic concept plan. We could identify strategic projects, mostly infrastructure projects such as RRTS, which have regional implications. And then identify places or locations for which we prepare a development plan. The land use of these areas can be changed accordingly in the master plans. This approach should be used while planning for any metropolitan area,” said Pai.
Sameer Sharma, chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh and former director-general and CEO of Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, said there is an emergence of edge cities around metropolitan areas and pointed out the need for an economic development plan. “The US has a very strong planning system. The Indian system operates differently at the ground level. We make perfect master plans, but only 20-30% gets implemented... we have to do a lot of retrofitting (to address the ground level issues),” said Sharma.
To promote economic activities in Delhi, Sharma said that redevelopment has to be planned properly. He cited the case of Mayapuri industrial area where permissions are being given to banquet halls. “There are banquet halls coming up in the area without any parking facility. A better model could be to make it like Bandra Kurla Complex. Mayapuri can be an IT hub or any hub, even a banquet hub. But a proper plan should be prepared for it,” he said.
Sharma said that projects like redevelopment of seven government residential colonies where commercial and residential development is planned, will bring in jobs.
Rana Hasan, director of Asian Development Bank, said that disharmony between master planning and what happens at the grassroot level is largely due to rigidity in land use management. He said that there is a need to relook at land use management and regulation.
Abhijeet Samanta, deputy director at NCRPB, and Bidisha Ganguly, chief economist at Confederation of Indian Industry, said that since 2006, manufacturing industries are gradually moving out of Delhi, mainly due to environmental reasons.
Ganguly said that housing is one of the important factors that needs to be planned for in cities: “There is a need for affordable housing, including rental, for workers... The quality of life of people is important and planning should incorporate this aspect.”
WRI India said that promoting digital economy, creative industries, IT industry, fashion, tourism etc will help boost the economy, adding that manufacturing industries should be promoted in the peripheral areas.
Samanta said that NCRPB’s draft regional plan-2041 has addressed issues of economic development in the region.
In another session, urban planners discussed the need to adopt strategic spatial planning which envisions the city’s future while formulating strategic projects and decisions to help leapfrog over current and potential challenges faced by the city.
Delhi’s urban development minister Satyender Jain, in a pre-recorded message, said, “Delivering strategic projects that trigger urban transformation is critical for Delhi to meet the current and future challenges. We see strategic projects and planning as key to shape cities into more resilient and equitable spaces for all.”