Seamless Rural-Urban Transformation

Cities are cauldrons of wealth and knowledge creation. They form the economic, creative and cultural backbone of human societies. Cities can provide the jobs and opportunities that will enable millions of youth to generate India’s demographic dividend. The policies that shape our cities therefore have the potential to transform our nation for the better or worse. As per the 2011 Census, for the first time since independence, the absolute increase in population is more in urban areas than in rural areas. The level of urbanisation increased from 27.81% in the 2001 Census to 31.16% in the 2011 Census. Urbanisation is now increasing at a steady average rate of 2.4% annually, while the rural increase is just 0.7% annually. This indicates the trend towards migration to urban centres. There is however a big gap between the pace of urbanisation and the provision of infrastructural facilities required for supporting such a large exodus of population. As a consequence, the urban environment, particularly in large cities, is deteriorating very rapidly. All cities have acute shortage of housing, water supply, sewerage, developed land, transportation and other facilities. This neglect is primarily due to lack of investment, as India’s annual capital spending on urban infrastructure in per capita terms is only $17 as against $116 for China and $391 for UK.

AIPC Position

  • The AIPC affirms its commitment to creating inclusive cities, revamping urban governance, increasing affordable housing, and making large investments in infrastructure.
  • The 74th Amendment to India’s Constitution devolving power to urban local bodies, has given a major impetus to urban development in India. The AIPC use the 74th Amendment to push for ideas that modern urban settings require.
  • We should advocate that Mayors and Municipal Chairpersons have fully functional powers, so that they can operate as Chief Executives Officers of cities with executive powers and responsibilities and not just ceremonial positions.
  • Urban constituencies are rapidly growing in population and the disparity between constituencies is increasing. This undermines the principle of equality of vote and also results in under-franchise of urban areas. We should ensure this issue is revisited so that constituencies can be adjusted to reflect population changes.
  • Major investments in urban infrastructure are needed. We also need to help strengthen human and institutional capabilities, local planning and improvement in governance.
  • The AIPC will focus to ensure better sewage and solid waste management facilities, roads and multi-modal public transport.