Govt to finalise 5 urban planning reform schemes for states
The urban development reform schemes include modernisation of building bye-laws, transit-oriented development (TOD), allowing transferable development rights (TDR), preparation of local area plans and town planning schemes, creation of sponge cities by integrating blue and green infrastructure
The ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) is in the process of finalising five urban development schemes for states to bring about a paradigm shift in urban planning as proposed in the Union Budget by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, officials aware of the development said on Saturday.
The proposals will be sent to the department of expenditure under the finance ministry for consideration, according to two senior ministry officials.
The urban development reform schemes include modernisation of building bye-laws, transit-oriented development (TOD), allowing transferable development rights (TDR), preparation of local area plans and town planning schemes, creation of sponge cities by integrating blue and green infrastructure.
“It will be an outcome-based incentive scheme or reform linked to the transfer of funds in which states will get the funds after implementation of the schemes. The proposals will be sent to the department of expenditure for consideration. If approved, the state government will be given an incentive for implementing these schemes,” said a senior ministry official.
The Centre introduced the National Transit Oriented Development Policy in 2015, and many states and cities have formulated their TOD policy or are in the process of doing it. But the key challenge is its implementation, said another senior official.
“If the scheme is approved, states will get funds for implementing the TOD policy in cities. We have proposed that funds be given for each city where the scheme is executed,” said the official.
The scheme is aimed at promoting public transport by allowing high-intensity development, both commercial and residential, around transit corridors and nodes and maximising the land use. Delhi, Ahmedabad and Naya Raipur are among the cities to have a TOD policy in place.
The TDR is another crucial policy for cities to provide essential infrastructure in urbanised areas where land acquisition for public purposes such as road widening, development of parks, schools, etc, is costly and time-consuming. In September 2020, NITI Aayog issued the guidelines for the implementation of TDR.
The method is already in use in cities such as Mumbai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. The Delhi Development Authority has proposed a TDR policy in the draft Master Plan of Delhi-2041. The policy can be used for various purposes like heritage conservation, slum redevelopment, providing essential infrastructure in congested or urbanised areas etc.
Officials said there is a need to modernise the building bye-laws and also make the plan sanctioning process completely online. “Apart from modernising the bye-laws, it is also important for cities to prepare local area plans and town planning schemes for planned development of the area and to provide essential social and civic infrastructure. A large number of cities don’t have local area plans despite a provision in its master plan,” said a senior official.
A senior official said that integrating blue and green infrastructure (water bodies and green spaces) is essential for recharging the groundwater.
The Town and Country Planning Organisation (TCPO) has already conducted workshops to sensitise the urban planning department of state governments about the various urban planning reforms.