The Gist of Yojana: December 2014
Urban Policies and Programmes in India: Retrospect and Prospect
The Importance of cities and urban centres has been growing
in India’s economic development during the post liberalization phase. For
example, the contribution of urban areas to India’s GDP has increased from 29
per cent in 1950-51 to 47 per cent in 1980-81, to 62 to 63 per cent by 2007, and
is expected to increase to 75 per cent by 2021 (Planning Commission 2008: 394).
It is also being emphasized that 9 to 10 per cent of growth in GDP depends
fundamentally on making Indian cities more livable and inclusive (Planning
Commission, Govt. of India 2008: 394).
One of the important features of urbanization influencing
politics and policies is that it undermines old forms of political mobilization
based on caste and religious identities and favors local issues to be resolved
through right based approach to development.
One of the startling facts of India’s urban history is that
most of the cities and towns have grown on their own. Policy and programmes to
some extent affected the big urban centres, but the small cities and towns and
non-metropolitan areas have largely been remained unaffected by urban policy and
Urban Programmes and Planning in Five Year Plans
During the first two Five Year Plan periods, various
institutions and organizations were created and set up. For example, the
Government set up the Town and Country Planning Organization, the National
Building Organisation and Delhi Development Authority during this period.
The Third Five Year Plan (1961-66) was a turning point in
India’s history of urban development and planning. It recognized the importance
of cities and towns in balanced regional development and advised that urban
planning adopt a regional approach. It emphasized the need for urban land
regulation, checking of urban land prices and also preparation of master plan
for the big cities.
The Fourth Five Year Plan (1969-74) continued to emphasize the regional and
urban development initiatives in the Third Plan, and development plans for 72
urban centres were undertaken.
The Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act 1976 was passed
during Fifth Five Year Plan period. It also advised the state governments to
create metropolitan planning regions to take care of the growing areas outside
administrative city limits. In a very significant development during this plan
period, the Government of Maharashtra passed the Mumbai Metropolitan Development
Act in 1974 and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) was
established in accordance on 26th January, 1975.
The Sixth Five Year Plan (1978-83) stressed the need to
develop small and medium size towns (less than 1 lakh). A scheme of Integrated
Development of Small and Medium Towns (IDSMT) was launched in 1979 by the
There were some important institutional developments during
Seventh Plan period which shaped the urban development policy and planning in
India. The National Commission on Urbanisation submitted its report in August
1988 and a bill known as 65th Constitution Amendment was introduced in Lok Sabha
in 1989 incorporating the suggestions of the Commission. The bill was the first
attempt to grant constitutional status to urban local bodies with an aim to
create a- three tier federal structure.
During Eighth Plan, the Mega City Scheme was introduced in
1993-94 covering five megacities of Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Bangalore and
Hyderabad. Also, the IDSMT scheme was revamped to dovetail its activities of
infrastructure development programmes for boosting employment generation for
diverting migration from the big cities to the small and medium towns.
The Ninth Plan (1997-2002) sought that state urbanisation
strategy should be prepared for establishing synergy among various urban
development programmes. Although, most of the programmes undertaken in the
Eighth Plan continued in Ninth Plan, the emphasis was placed more on
decentralization and financial autonomy of the urban local bodies with an aim to
promote competitiveness and efficiency’ through market based interventions.
The Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007) recognized the fact that urbanization
played a key role in accelerating economic growth in the 1980s and 1990s as a
result of economic liberalisation. It also noted that programmes such as the
Mega City project for five selected cities, the Integrated Development of Small
and Medium Towns (IDSMT), and the Accelerated Urban Water Supply Programme (AUWSP)
have shown limited success. It also noted that the coverage and the amount of
central assistance in the past have been uneven and inadequate, both because of
procedural issues as well as limited budgetary allocations. The existing schemes
for assistance for infrastructure such as the IDSMT and the Mega City Project
leave a significant number of cities between them without any central support.
A programme called Valmiki-Ambedkar Awas Yojana (VAMBAY) was
also initiated in 2001-2002 for provision of shelter and upgrading the existing
shelter of the people below poverty line. A subsidy in the range of Rs. 20 to 30
thousand was provided per unit depending upon the size of the city.
The Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12) introduced some innovative changes in
the urban policy and programmes. The key urban development strategies were as
i. Strengthening urban local bodies through capacity building and better
ii. Increasing the efficiency and productivity of cities by deregulation and
development of land.
iii. Dismantling public sector monopoly over urban infrastructure and creating
conducive atmosphere for the private sector to invest.
iv. Establishing aut0nom0us regulatory framework to oversee the functioning of
the public and private sector.
v. Reducing incidence of poverty.
vi. Using technology and innovation in a big way.
In order to revitalize the urban development strategies, the
Central Government launched a major initiative named as Jawaharlal Nehru
National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), in December 2005, to give a focused
attention to integrated development of urban infrastructure and services
initially in select 63 mission cities.
JNNURM was divided into two broad parts namely (i) the Sub-
Mission on Urban Infrastructure and Governance and (UIG) (ii) the Sub-Mission on
Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) covering initially 63 mission cities.
The non-Mission cities and towns were covered under the scheme Urban
Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) and
Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP).
Under JNNURM, it was made mandatory for each city to
formulate its City Development Plan (COP), and bring out a long term vision for
the city and its course of development. It also put several conditionality’s of
urban reforms like repealment of Land Ceiling Act 1976, empowerment of ULBs,
capacity building and improvement in municipal accounting. It also aimed to
leverage private sector in the development and financing of projects through
Public Private Partners.hip (PPP).
The Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-2017) proposed to consolidate the JNNURM and
envisaged its wider role it. urban.reforms. The JNNURM during Twelfth Plan has
1. Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG)
2. Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY)
3. Slum rehabilitation in cities not covered under RAY
4. Capacity buildini1
It noted that there were several barriers to the
implementation of the programme. Notably among them is the failure to mainstream
urban planning, incomplete reforms and slow progress in project implementation.
The Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) was launched on 2 June 2011 with the vision of
creating a slum free India as a pilot project for a period of two years. The
Central Government finally approved the RAY on 3rd September 2013 for a period
2013-2022. This scheme specifically aimed to support state and city governments
to upgrade slums and assign title to their residents and to plan to accommodate
the envisaged growth as India’s rapid urbanization continues, so that more slums
are not formed.India’s planning process has been centralized, top down and
sector based. This is also true for urban development planning which focused
mainly on urban housing, water supply, sanitation, slum improvement, urban
infrastructure, mega city and small and medium towns etc. Although urban
development is a state subject, there is little that states could think about an
integrated urban development strategy and planning. State Planning
Commissions/Boards have hardly come out with state urban development programmes
and are mostly dependent on what Planning Commission of India suggested as a
think tank. On the other hand, urban development is a matter of utmost
importance as urban areas are constantly stressed for civic amenities like
access to electricity, drinking water, sanitation and LPG etc. Road congestion,
traffic, air and water pollution, municipal waste disposal and law and order are
other issues of concerns for urban governance. Urban planning has to be done by
the urban local bodies which comprise municipal corporations, municipalities and
nagar panchayats, commonly known as ULBs supported by the state government.
Urban Local Bodies need to be empowered with clear delegation of functions,
financial resources and autonomy. There is also a need to enhance the
administrative, managerial and technical capacity of the ULBs. It must be
clearly recognized that urban planning cannot be divorced from urban governance.
As urban bodies lack power and resources, parastatal bodies
like Urban Development Authority have virtually taken over the city promoting
real estate and infrastructure. On the other hand, basic services like water,
sanitation, education, health care and shelter etc. are neglected. As urban
development is a state subject, the state governments must realise the role of
the city and initiate urban reforms to empower local bodies both
administratively and fiscally. We must envision cities as engines human
development rather than capital accumulation by the few.
Planning for Smart Cities: Where to Start?
One of the ingredients in the new government’s development
model is the idea of smart cities. In the budget presented on July 10,2014, the
Union Finance Minister made a budgetary allocation of Rs 7060 crore for 100
smart cities. The minister spoke of the “vision of developing ‘one hundred Smart
Cities’, as satellite towns of larger cities and modernizing the existing
Defining what a smart city means for people is undoubtedly
debatable. However, the features of a smart central business district like the
Gujarat International Fin- Tee City are easier to grasp, quantify and
understand. The real challenge is to build an inclusive smart city for all its
residents, irrespective of whether they are rich or poor. It is reasonable to
state that in a country like India, the process of making a city smart should be
people centric. The indubitable idea is to make cities work for the people.
Hence, instead of offering an operational definition of what a smart city is,
this article outlines a road map in this regard?
The notion of smart cities or habitations is a process rather
than a goal and it is this feature that has ensured that there is no single
accepted definition of what a smart city is. So a smart city would be
e-governed, aim for continuous improvements in design and management, plan for
climate oriented development and mass transit oriented development, ride on
benefits of automation and develop applications for its residents.
The vision of India’s National e-Governance Plan is to “make
all Government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through
common service delivery outlets, and ensure efficiency, transparency, and
reliability of such services at affordable costs to realise the basic needs of
the common man”. The effective roll out of this plan across the 4041 Statutory
Towns, 3894 Census Towns, 475 Urban Agglomerations, 981 Out Growths, and 238,617
gram panchayats responsible for 6,40,86 villages will ensure that every
administrative unit will be e-governed.
What is being suggested is that it should be about achieving
convergence of various initiatives to ensure that every rural habitation, future
town is becomes smarter. This approach can be thought of as bottom up planning
for future urbanization, a preemptive strategy aimed at planning for growth
rather than a reactive strategy in the face of urban sprawl. Today, most
measures taken by the government are reactive than proactive. Our urban spaces
have also been used for promoting reforms as well as for contesting such reform
measures. Some seek privatization of municipal services including through
Public-Private Partnerships with governments merely functioning as regulators or
facilitators; others say that this would institutionalize social and economic
disparities”. So the government has to articulate how it will ensure that basic
services are available to all residents of these cities. Not only does the
government need to address the lack of basic services for the current residents,
the planning also needs to factor in future population growth.
As per the numbers from Census of India 2011, a total of
13.75 million households live in the slums, i.e. 17 per cent of India’s urban
households lived in slums. This percentage would be higher if one was to
generate estimates of urban households living in slum like conditions. In 2011,
63 per cent of the 4,041 statutory towns reported having slums. The idea of a
smart town or a city with gated communities and overcrowded informal settlements
seems incongruous. Twenty six per cent of households in urban India use dirty or
unclean fuel like firewood/crop residue, cow dung cake/coal etc. This is not a
smart energy choice since use of dirty fuel contributes to indoor air pollution.
Any city or town aspiring to be smart needs to work on ensuring that the basic
physical infrastructure is in place.
In terms of smart decision making, the database on different
functional aspects of Indian cities is woefully inadequate to run any smart
algorithms on dynamic pricing of services or routing of traffic. Such algorithms
are more feasible to run in the context of cities in developed countries. But
this is not to suggest that smart decision making and empowering of citizens is
not feasible. Some state governments like Chhattisgarh have tried to improve the
functioning of the Public Distribution system by developing the necessary
management information systems. In Raipur, individuals are given the choice of
the fair price shop of his or her liking, flexibility of buying in smaller
quantities rather than in only on transaction etc. Portability of the ration
card across the shops helped improve customer satisfaction. If every city in
India were to follow the Raipur example then it will help to improve the
functioning of the much maligned Public Distribution System. A logical extension
would be to allow portability of cards for intra-state migrants and migrant
workers. If one were to look around, there are many other initiatives that have
been tried. The challenge is to make these sustainable and scalable to cover the
entire population. In this process, even an un-smart and dysfunctional city can
become smart, efficient and productive.